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Parliamentary questions
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15 March 2017
E-000208/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000208/2017

The EU is very concerned about wildlife trafficking and the current levels of rhinoceros poaching.

Thus, the Commission adopted in February 2016 a communication on an EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking(1). The EU Action Plan was endorsed by the Council of Ministers in June 2016(2) and by the European Parliament in November 2016(3).

This EU Action Plan contains 32 actions, many of which are of direct relevance for the EU fight against rhinoceros poaching and trafficking.

In order to make sure that the EU is not used as a market, transit or export region for the illegal trade in rhino horns, the Commission adopted a specific guidance document regarding the export, re-export, import and intra-Union trade of rhinoceros horns(4). In addition, a number of investigations carried out in EU Member States allowed to dismantle organised crime operators involved in rhino horn trafficking.

The EU is also on the forefront in the international efforts against rhino horn trafficking. The conditions under which EU development aid may be withdrawn are set out in Art. 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, and do not explicitly refer to environmental crime. However this issue is raised during regular policy dialogues with partner countries.

The EU has provided considerable financial support to programmes dedicated to combating wildlife trafficking and in favour of wildlife conservation in third countries, such as funding for the International Consortium for Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) and its members(5).

The EU is a key player in CITES(6), where it has pushed for the adoption and implementation of strong measures against rhinoceros trafficking in key range, transit and destination countries.

(1)http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/trafficking_en.htm
(2)http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-10512-2016-INIT/en/pdf
(3)http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2016-0454+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
(4)http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016XC0116(01)
(5)Interpol, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, World Customs Organisation, the Secretariat of the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species.
(6)Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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