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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission urges Sweden to respect EU nature legislation and protect endangered wolves

Brussels, 16 June – Despite efforts done Sweden has not yet brought its policy for the protection of endangered wolves into line with EU rules on nature protection. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the European Commission has therefore decided to send a reasoned opinion requesting Sweden to amend its wolf policy. Sweden has two months to comply. If it fails to do so, the Commission may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

Aspects of Swedish wolf policy that still raise concerns include:

  • the repeated licensed hunting of a strictly protected and endangered species, without conditions for derogations set out by EU law being met;

  • effective measures to address the high level of inbreeding in the population by facilitating the natural migration of wolves into Sweden or through the active translocation of wolves;

  • the adoption and implementation of a management plan for this endangered species; and

  • the ceiling of 210 set for the number of wolves in Sweden.

Background

The Swedish wolf population is small, threatened by both geographic isolation and inbreeding. All measures taken which affect the wolf in Sweden must be carefully considered and duly prepared before they are carried out in order to avoid detrimental impact on the population.

The Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC, offers strict protection to endangered species. Derogations to these rules may be granted under defined conditions. The Commission sent Sweden a letter of formal notice on 28 January 2011 (see IP/11/95). Sweden acknowledges that the wolf is in unfavourable conservation status and the Commission appreciates Sweden's commitment to enhancing its conservation. Sweden has to accelerate its efforts towards the adoption of a comprehensive management plan and towards interregional cooperation. Despite several exchanges of information and a constructive dialogue since June 2010, the Commission still has concerns about Swedish wolf policy. The Commission is keen to pursue this dialogue in view of defining a conservation policy that conforms to EU nature protection rules.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/implementation_en.htm

See also MEMO/11/408

For info on large carnivores:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 295 06 68)


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