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Parliamentary questions
12 June 2018
P-002460/2018
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission

The Commission is aware that certain migratory bird species, including the Barnacle Goose, can cause damage to fields and grassland areas. The Commission has already been informed of this issue in previous parliamentary questions, inter alia E-012965/2013 and E-005627/2014.

In the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020(1) Lower Saxony implements three operations with the objective to provide undisturbed resting and feeding places for the overwintering of Nordic migratory birds, including the Barnacle Goose. Participating farmers receive compensatory payments for income foregone and additional costs ranging from EUR 220 to 410 per hectare. The agri-environment payments compensate for the restricted use of the agricultural land as well as for the damages caused by the migrating birds.

The control of geese populations is a responsibility of national authorities that may grant authorisations(2). That possibility is explained in the Commission guidance document on hunting(3) under the Birds Directive. Furthermore, the Commission is currently supporting the elaboration under the auspices of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Waterbirds of International Single Species Management Plans for the Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) and the Greylag Goose (Anser anser). The plans aim to improve coordination between concerned range states to reduce damage and, when necessary, to control the species.

The Commission has thoroughly evaluated the Habitats(4) and Birds(5) Directives through its ‘fitness check’ process(6). It concluded that the directives, including their Annexes, remain fit for purpose. In line with the action plan for Nature, People and Economy(7) the implementation of these directives will be improved on the ground.

(1)Under the agri-environment-climate measure (Article 28 of Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013)
(2)Pursuant to Article 9 of the Birds Directive for instance in order to prevent serious damages to crops or in the interest of public health and safety.
(3)http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/wildbirds/action_plans/guidance_en.htm
(4)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21.5.1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flo-ra; OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(5)Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30.11.2009 on the conservation of Wild Birds, OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7.
(6)SWD(2016) 472 final.
(7)COM(2017) 198 final.

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