Answer given by Mr Dimas on behalf of the Commission
On 19 December 2007 the Commission adopted a Communication on Community action in relation to whaling(1), which was submitted to the Parliament and the Council. This communication states that developing a Community position and a common EU strategic approach to whaling would make the EU a major player in international whaling policy, with the aim of ensuring effective protection of whales worldwide. It identifies the development of an effective international regulatory framework as the EU’s overarching objective.
The first and crucial step in this process is to have a coordinated EU position at the meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Therefore, the Commission, at the same time as the communication, proposed a Council Decision establishing the Community position to be adopted at IWC meetings. Based on that proposal, the Council adopted on 5 June 2008 a Council Decision establishing the position to be adopted by the European Community at the IWC meeting in Chile(2). The adoption of the decision guaranteed that the European Community presented a coordinated and unified position at the IWC meeting and was therefore a concrete result of the proposals contained in the communication. The Council Decision was adopted with the procedural legal basis of Article 300 (2) (2) of the Treaty. Under this procedure the Council has to inform Parliament of such a decision.
The pilot whale hunt the Honourable Member is making reference to is conducted in Faroe Islands, which are not part of the EU, so strict EU legislation on whales does not apply there. Moreover, the hunting of pilot whales is not regulated by the IWC, as to date there is no agreement about the IWC's competence for small cetaceans such as pilot whales. In line with the objectives described in the communication the Commission hopes that the European Community together with other parties of the IWC can find a solution to address all cetaceans, including pilot whales, in that forum.