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Politics Monitor

European Union: the wolf issue will land with Environment Ministers

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has decided: the European Commission’s proposal aimed at lowering the protection status of the wolf will be carefully examined by the ministers responsible for the Environment and not by their colleagues from Agriculture. The former are supposed to be more favorable to maintaining the current status – strict protection – rather than following the Commission for which the large canid must be able to be hunted without having to go through derogations. The Ministers of Agriculture would be more inclined to favor the defense of breeders. The file will be raised for discussion by the latter – a request from Finland – but the last word will go to the environmental approach.

This was the position defended by the Belgian ministers responsible for the file (Maron, Tellier and Khattabi, all Ecolo) while the Ministers of Agriculture David Clarinval (MR) and Willy Borsus (MR) favored the Agriculture sector. An intra-Belgian coordination meeting held this Wednesday morning was to determine the agenda. She decided in favor of the former.

The Commission’s proposal consists of introducing an amendment to the Berne Convention “relating to the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats” which would make it possible to lower the protection status of the wolf and move it from category from “strictly protected” to “protected species”. For this proposal to be approved, a qualified majority of member states must be present, i.e. 15 out of 27 countries representing at least 65% of the total population of the European Union.

The 27 environment ministers will meet on March 25. On this side, says an expert from nature protection NGOs, “it should not be difficult to obtain a blocking minority”. According to WWF, “of the nine wolf subpopulations, six are still endangered or vulnerable.”

This article is originally published on lesoir.be

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