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Postupak : 2013/2747(RSP)
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O-000123/2013 (B7-0529/2013)

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Ponedjeljak, 13. siječnja 2014. - Strasbourg Revidirano izdanje

18. Borba protiv kaznenih djela povezanih s divljom florom i faunom (rasprava)
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  Der Präsident. − Als nächster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über die Anfrage zur mündlichen Beantwortung an die Kommission über die Bekämpfung von Straftaten im Zusammenhang mit freilebenden Arten von Matthias Groote im Namen des Ausschusses für Umweltfragen, öffentliche Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit [(2013/2747(RSP))] (O-000123/2013 – B7-0529/2013).

 
  
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  Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, Auteur. − Voorzitter, ik werd ongeveer twee jaar geleden gealarmeerd door cijfers over de enorme groei van gestroopte neushoorns in Zuid-Afrika. Waar er in 2009 honderd waren gedood, was dat verdrievoudigd naar driehonderd in het jaar 2010. En het werd mij twee geleden ook duidelijk dat het niet alleen maar om neushoorns ging. Het bleek ook over olifanten te gaan. Dertig- tot veertigduizend olifanten per jaar worden er nu gestroopt. Zo'n tien procent van de totale populatie. Maar niet alleen deze grote beesten, ook tijgers, gordeldieren, slangen, reptielen, vogels en zelfs planten en bomen.

Voorzitter, één ding werd mij duidelijk: onze natuur is vogelvrij verklaard en wordt volledig geplunderd. De grootste oorzaak daarvan is de toegenomen welvaart in Zuidoost-Azië. Dat heeft een markt van illegale wildlife-producten opgeleverd van meer dan 15 miljard euro jaarlijks. Daarmee is het de vierde illegale handel in de wereld geworden. Na drugs, namaakproducten en mensenhandel komt wildlife crime.

Om dat te bestrijden heb ik een jaar geleden een eigen Europees actieplan opgesteld en dat aan de Europese Commissie voorgelegd. Ik ben er blij om dat de Europese Commissie daar elementen van heeft overgenomen. Onder andere heeft dat het afgelopen jaar geleid tot een overeenkomst met China om samen te werken aan het bestrijden van wildlife crime.

Maar Voorzitter, dat is bij lange na niet voldoende. Dat blijkt ook weer uit de laatste cijfers van 2013. Ook vorig jaar is helaas wildlife crime weer explosief toegenomen. Ik had het over honderd neushoorns in 2009, driehonderd in 2010 in Zuid-Afrika. Het afgelopen jaar waren het er al duizend. Het blijft maar toenemen, ondanks alle inspanningen van ngo's, rangers ter plaatse, organisaties als Europol, Interpol, UNEP, TRAFFIC en vele, vele andere.

Dus Voorzitter, de conclusie is duidelijk. Als wij niet heel snel radicale maatregelen nemen om deze illegale praktijken te stoppen, is het straks afgelopen met de meest iconische soorten die op aarde in het wild rondlopen.

Daarom heb ik het initiatief genomen voor deze mondelinge vraag met resolutie. Ook omdat de rol van Europa groot is. Het gaat niet alleen maar om Afrika en Azië. Ik zal u zeggen waarom.

Allereerst hebben wij een hele sterke morele verplichting om deze massale slachting te bestrijden, en die is niet onbelangrijk. Ten tweede – en dat is ernstig – spelen onze lidstaten helaas ook een grote rol in deze handel, zowel als bestemming alsook als doorvoerhaven. Ik zal u wat cijfers geven uit 2012 in Nederland. Daar werden op een gegeven moment 600 kilo gordeldier onderschept, of vijftig slagtanden in één zending. Er zat 680 kilo aan illegaal koraal in een pakket, en 2 500 dode zeepaardjes. Het geeft ook aan dat het om heel veel verschillende soorten gaat. Expertise én capaciteit is zijn nog altijd veel te klein in Europa. Ik wil dus heel graag dat de Europese Commissie een veel grotere rol daarin gaat spelen.

In de derde plaats, Voorzitter, heeft wildlife crime een enorme sociale impact. De ontwrichtende werking maakt hele gebieden instabiel. Het gemakkelijk verdiende geld is aantrekkelijk voor velen, net als bij drugshandel. Het kan de miljarden aan ontwikkelingshulp nutteloos maken.

Wat moet er gebeuren? Allereerst vind ik het belangrijk dat de Europese Commissie samen met de lidstaten met een eigen actieplan komt, concreet en ambitieus. Zoals ik al zei, in de lidstaten moeten de expertise en de capaciteit uitgebreid worden, zowel voor opsporing als ook voor de rechterlijke macht. En ook met veel hogere straffen. Criminelen komen nu veel te gemakkelijk weg.

We moeten deze misdaad als georganiseerde misdaad beschouwen en het ook zo aanpakken, zoals we ook de drugshandel aanpakken en vele andere georganiseerde misdaden. Veel hogere prioriteit. Binnen Europol moeten wij een speciale wildlife crime unit opzetten. Zo ernstig is het. Absoluut noodzakelijk.

We moeten gebruik maken van het Europese handels- en ontwikkelingsbeleid om wildlife crime tegen te gaan. Maak hulp via ontwikkelingsinstrumenten conditioneel aan bijdragen aan bestrijding van wildlife crime. Voorzitter, in de resolutie staat ook dat de Commissie en de lidstaten een trustfund moeten opzetten om beschermde gebieden te beveiligen.

Voorzitter – en ik zal daarmee afronden – wat zijn wij waard als politici als wij toekijken bij de plundering van onze natuur, van onze meest tot de verbeelding sprekende plant- en diersoorten, maar ook de vele minder tot de verbeelding sprekende soorten die verdwijnen omdat criminelen daar miljarden mee verdienen. Niks, meneer de Voorzitter, en laat 2014 het jaar worden dat niet alleen gespróken wordt over wildlife crime, maar dat ook concrete acties in gang gezet worden. Ik ga ervan uit dat de Europese Commissie en lidstaten dat met dit Parlement eens zijn en met een concreet en ambitieus actieplan zullen komen.

 
  
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  Janez Potočnik, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, firstly I would like to thank Mr Gerbrandy and all the Members of the European Parliament. I am grateful for your initiative to bring the issue of wildlife trafficking to the attention of Parliament and the other institutions.

The world is facing a dramatic surge in wildlife trafficking, which has become one of the most profitable criminal activities at global level. It threatens the survival of some emblematic species, damages biodiversity and undermines the development and stability of many countries. We will begin to tackle this successfully only if there is a joint international effort involving source, transit and destination countries.

The European Union has been working towards this for some time, both domestically and through CITES, the international convention that regulates trade in endangered species. I take this opportunity to let you know that the Commission has recently tabled a proposal for the European Union finally to become a full party to CITES. We hope Parliament will be able to give its consent before the elections.

We also raise the question of wildlife trafficking in our bilateral cooperation exchanges. Just last summer, for example, I signed a cooperation agreement on wildlife trafficking with my Chinese counterpart, and we are also supporting the efforts of CITES and 31 African elephant-range states with extra funding from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). In December we announced EUR 12.3 million for the new ‘MIKES’ project. MIKES stands for ‘Minimising the Illegal Killing of Elephants and other Endangered Species’. It will develop law enforcement, monitoring, patrol and emergency response capacities to fight illegal killing and international trade in elephants and other species.

However, we have to face the fact that the trends are against us. Demand for wildlife products in Asia is now so big that the business is highly lucrative. For example, rhino horn is more expensive than cocaine and gold; at the same time, it is easy to smuggle, the risk of detection is very low, and sanctions, if imposed, are often not sufficient to act as a deterrent. Ivory trafficking has boomed and is now affecting the whole continent of Africa. The European Union itself is a market and a transit point for illegal wildlife products.

For many countries, wildlife crime is a threat to development. Corruption facilitates trafficking, and large-scale organised crime undermines weak state structures and threatens peace and stability. To begin to turn this situation around, we need much greater political recognition of the threat that wildlife trafficking represents. This needs to go far beyond environmental circles: foreign ministers, organised-crime and development experts, police and customs, the judiciary, NGOs and the private sector all have an important role to play. Your draft resolution addresses many of the key issues at stake and calls for enhanced action.

A number of Member States and the United States of America have recently announced that they will increase their political engagement against wildlife trafficking. The Commission is working on a set of ideas for how the European Union could develop a more effective approach in the fight against wildlife trafficking. We will present those ideas, including in relation to opportunities offered by the new EDF, next month in a Commission communication to Parliament and the Member States, on which I am taking the lead together with Commissioner Malmström and in close cooperation with other Commissioners, notably Commissioner Piebalgs. The communication will draw attention to the urgency of addressing the global problem of wildlife trafficking more effectively. It takes stock of existing European Union measures to support the fight against wildlife trafficking both globally and within the Union. Finally, it will initiate a debate on the European Union’s future approach to wildlife trafficking.

The dimensions of the problem, as I indicated earlier, have changed, so new ideas are needed to fight organised wildlife crime, curb demand, address the peace and stability implications and provide for alternative livelihoods for those involved in poaching. We will therefore ask stakeholders for their views as to what has been working well and what has been working less well, and we will explore avenues for more effective action by the European Union. In addition to the public consultation, we will organise a conference on 10 April 2014.

Parliament’s resolution is a very helpful contribution to raising public awareness of the importance of this issue. Commissioner Malmström and I look forward to the discussion with you and many other stakeholders on potential solutions to ensure that we are up to the challenge of fighting wildlife trafficking effectively.

 
  
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  Romana Jordan, v imenu skupine PPE. – Danes govorimo o slonih, nosorogih, tigrih, želvah in koralah.

S krizo obremenjeni državljani bi nam lahko očitali, da se ne ukvarjamo z resnimi zadevami. A ta tema je zelo resna. Kajti trgovanje s prostoživečimi rastlinskimi in živalskimi vrstami ogroža biodiverziteto, varnost, politično stabilnost, ogrožena je vladavina prava.

Tovrstna kriminalna trgovina je močna tudi v Evropski uniji, to ni problem tretjih držav, in to kažejo zasegi v okviru konvencije CITES.

Ogledala sem si analizo 17 držav za leto 2012 in v njej je bilo opisanih kar 799 zasegov. Največ zaseženih produktov je bilo namenjenih medicinski rabi, na drugem mestu je slonovina in na tretjem živi plazilci.

Evropska unija se uvršča med velike tranzitne destinacije, je pa tudi velik trg za tovrstne produkte.

Zato moramo okrepiti učinkovitost evropskega prostora z boljšim izvajanjem zakonodaje in priporočil Evropske komisije. Seveda priporočila niso tako močna, kot bi bila skupna evropska zakonodaja. Zato pričakujem, da si bo Evropska komisija prizadevala, da bo zakonodaja držav članic na tem področju koherentna, predvsem pa je pomembno, da so podobno zahtevne tudi kazni. Kajti ne želimo si, da bi določena država ali manjša skupina držav z nizkimi kaznimi predstavljala priložnost za trgovce s kriminalnim blagom.

Naj omenim še, da mislim, da moramo dati več poudarka na učinkovito delovanje obstoječih inštitucij, kajti upoštevati moramo težko javnofinančno situacijo v Evropi, zato moja politična skupina ne podpira pozivov za ustanovitev novih finančnih skladov v ta namen.

Pomembno pa je, da je zavedanje o tem problemu tudi na mednarodnem nivoju visoko. Konvencija CITES je v veljavi že od leta 1975, lani pa so Združeni narodi razglasili, da je kriminal s prostoživečimi vrstami enako resen, kot je kriminal z drogami in z ljudmi. S problemom se na primer resno spopada tudi ameriška administracija.

Evropska unija mora ostati aktivna na mednarodnem nivoju. Biti mora aktivna udeleženka mednarodnih mehanizmov, za to imamo znanje in izkušnje. In mnogo lahko storimo tudi preko inštrumenta uradne razvojne pomoči.

Moja politična skupina resolucijo podpira. Upam, da nam bo s splošno in veliko podporo uspelo narediti bistven napredek in zmanjšati ta kriminal.

Na koncu pa naj povem še to, da ni trgovine, če ni povpraševanja in potrošnje. In mislim, da mi morali dati velik poudarek tudi osveščanju, kajti če ne bo povpraševanja po torbicah iz krokodiljega usnja, po lepih spominčkih iz slonovine in če klavirske tipke ne bodo iz slonovine, potem tudi take trgovine ne bo.

 
  
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  Pavel Poc, za skupinu S&D. – Pane předsedající, já bych především chtěl poděkovat všem kolegům, se kterými jsem měl příležitost na této zprávě pracovat. Je to skutečně závažná věc. To, že nás tady v sále je tak málo, nereflektuje závažnost této záležitosti. Nicméně optimismu, kterého se tak dostává mým kolegům, se mně nedostává.

Před necelým rokem jsme na tomto místě, na stejném místě, vedli diskusi o strategických cílech Evropské unie pro konferenci CITES v březnu 2013 v Bangkoku. Již tehdy byla situace velmi vážná, již tehdy jsme věděli o všech problémech, o tom, že ten problém nezasahuje jenom osudy jednotlivých zvířat, jenom animal welfare, ale že je také nebezpečím pro samotné zachování dotčených živočišných druhů – a někdy jsou to ikonické druhy – a dokonce i místních ekosystémů.

Během loňského roku 2013 jsme viděli, jak se situace prudce zhoršila, prudce gradovala. Do nezákonného obchodu se zapojily nadnárodní sítě organizované trestné činnosti a pro ty, kterým se zdá vyhubení slona, nosorožce či jiného zvířete nedůležité, řeknu jiná slova: financování terorismu, korupce a organizovaná trestná činnost v Evropské unii. Situace je natolik kritická, že na to reagovalo i OSN svou rezolucí z dubna 2013. Čísla jsme tu slyšeli, nebudu je opakovat, ale jsou otřesná. Jsou to desítky, stovky jedinců a jsou ohroženy celé druhy, protože ta čísla někdy pokrývají desítky procent existující populace těch biologických druhů.

Evropa musí dělat více, a proto by mě zajímalo, zda Komise plánuje přijetí zvláštních právních předpisů v oblasti obchodování po internetu, které by regulovaly obchod s volně žijícími druhy v Evropské unii. To je velice důležité a tam máme, podle mého názoru, slabá místa. A také by mě velmi zajímalo a zasazoval bych se o to, aby Komise naplánovala nějaká opatření, která by zabránila zneužívání možnosti dovozu neživých částí zvířat jako suvenýrů nebo loveckých trofejí.

 
  
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  Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, namens de ALDE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, ik dank de commissaris voor zijn antwoorden op onze vragen. Aan de ene kant ben ik blij met wat de commissaris vertelt. Er komt een mededeling, een communicatie met andere commissarissen, er komt een public consultation. Het is allemaal hartstikke mooi, maar ik vraag me af of het niet veel te weinig is en veel te langzaam gaat. 10 april, een public consultation. Tussen nu en 10 april, dat zijn ruim drie maanden, dat zijn 10 000 olifanten. Dáár hebben we het over, die urgentie, daar hebben we het over. Hoelang kunnen we het onszelf veroorloven om hier zo langzaam en wankelmoedig mee om te gaan?

Ik begrijp de goede bedoelingen van commissaris Potočnik. Maar ik heb de indruk dat we dit echt naar een hoger plan moeten zien te tillen. U noemde zelf de Verenigde Staten. Die zijn daar een voorbeeld van. Het was Hillary Clinton als minister van buitenlandse zaken, die dit nationaal op de agenda zette. Het was zelfs president Obama, die dit bij zijn bezoek aan Afrika ook verwoordde. In de Verenigde Staten heb ik de indruk dat het een veel hogere urgentie krijgt. Niet alleen omdat zij zo begaan zijn met wildlife in de wereld, maar ook omdat zij doorhebben dat dit een enorme sociale impact heeft in Afrika, in Azië en vele andere delen van de wereld, en ook omdat dit een uit de hand lopende gigantische criminele organisatie aan het worden is.

Dus Voorzitter, ik wil toch de commissaris vragen om hier een nog hogere urgentie aan te geven om ervoor te zorgen dat niet alleen hij met zijn Chinese counterpart een memorandum of understanding tekent, maar dat de voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, president Barroso, dit bespreekt met de president van China, met de presidenten en ministerpresidenten in Afrika en in andere landen waar dit aan de orde is.

Ook heb ik de indruk dat wij ons richting de Europese consument veel sterker moeten opstellen. Waarom niet in navolging van andere landen de lidstaten oproepen om alle illegale ivoor die wij verzameld hebben publiekelijk te verbranden? Dat is zo'n belangrijk signaal naar de consumenten en zij zullen daarmee begrijpen dat het inderdaad niet kan, om ivoor uit landen in te voeren.

Voorzitter, gisteren las ik het bericht dat de leeuw in West-Afrika is uitgestorven, dat de laatste olifanten rondlopen in hetzelfde deel van Afrika. We hebben echt nog maar ontzettend, ontzettend weinig tijd. Ik zou dus de Commissie willen vragen om er veel meer urgentie aan te geven. In 2009 kwam u zelf met aanbevelingen aan de lidstaten. Ik heb de indruk – en dat bleek ook uit de antwoorden op mijn schriftelijke vragen – dat de lidstaten daar veel te weinig aan doen, veel te weinig capaciteit, veel te weinig nationale prioriteit, zowel bij de opsporing als bij de rechterlijke macht, om ervoor te zorgen dat Europa niet meer dat doorvoerland en de bestemming is van heel veel van deze illegale wildlife-producten.

 
  
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  Sandrine Bélier, au nom du groupe Verts/ALE. – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, cette question orale et la résolution que nous discutons ce soir et que nous voterons cette semaine, j'espère à une très large majorité, est un appel et une réponse politique à un problème international grave et croissant, comme mes collègues l'ont souligné.

Le trafic de la faune et de la flore est aujourd'hui le quatrième commerce mondial derrière les drogues illicites, le trafic d’êtres humains et le commerce des armes. Le PNUE et INTERPOL évaluent que cette criminalité rapporte entre 18 et 26 milliards d'euros par an.

Presque deux tiers des éléphants de forêt - d’Afrique Centrale - ont été tués entre 2002 et 2012 pour leur ivoire destiné aux marchés illégaux. La tuerie de centaines d’éléphants au Cameroun début 2012, par des bandes lourdement armées – venues du Soudan – illustre une situation dramatique.

Au cours des dernières décennies, les réseaux criminels deviennent de plus en plus agressifs dans leur quête de produits de la nature. Dents de tigres, bile d'ours, cornes de rhinocéros, plumes d'oiseaux, ailerons de requins, coraux et carapaces de tortues… aucune espèce n'est vraiment épargnée par les pirates de la biodiversité mondiale.

Aujourd'hui, les conséquences du braconnage et du commerce illégal d'espèces sauvages dépassent la préservation de la biodiversité. Elles touchent la sécurité, la gouvernance ainsi que l’intégrité de nombreux États et populations. Plusieurs études indiquent que ces activités permettent d'alimenter le crime organisé dans le monde, qu’elles participent au blanchiment d'argent, à la corruption, à l’achat d’armes de guerre et au fonctionnement de groupes rebelles, voire terroristes.

C'est un trafic qui aurait déjà fait plus de 1000 morts parmi les éco-gardes chargés de la protection des animaux sauvages avec des répercussions sur les populations locales et des régions entières. Cette criminalité est en passe de devenir rien de moins qu’une menace sérieuse pour la paix et la sécurité.

INTERPOL et d'autres instances internationales demandent aux forces de police du monde entier de lutter contre les atteintes à l'environnement, et à tous les États de renforcer leurs législations et l’application des sanctions contre ces réseaux criminels. Si l’atteinte à l’environnement et la perte de la biodiversité n’ont pas été suffisantes pour émouvoir les citoyens et la communauté internationale, en ce début d’année 2014, les choses doivent et peuvent changer.

Le territoire européen étant la première zone de transit et de destination de ce trafic, le Parlement européen a pris la mesure de l’enjeu et de sa responsabilité. C’est l’objet de notre résolution. L'Union européenne doit se doter d'outils sérieux et efficaces. Les États membres doivent harmoniser leurs législations et renforcer leurs services de douanes. Nous appelons la Commission et le Conseil à l'action, en priorité dans l'agenda de l'UE, et à l’engagement d’EUROPOL.

Nous appelons à une tolérance zéro pour lutter efficacement contre ce fléau qu'est la criminalité liée aux espèces sauvages.

 
  
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  Julie Girling, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, firstly I would like to say, on behalf of my group, that I welcome this resolution. Wildlife crime is of course an abhorrent activity and I, like many others, feel that we need to move this issue up our agenda. The illegal killing of totemic species such as elephants and rhinos makes ready headlines and citizens are outraged, but we must not forget the many other smaller species – many vital to regional biodiversity around the world – which are just as important.

This is a complex and wide-ranging resolution covering all the areas of concern. I do not have time to address it all in detail here, but I would like to say that my group will be voting in favour of the resolution. Having said that, I just want to mention one or two areas that are of concern to my group members.

Firstly, the call for a harmonisation of law in this area and the production of common sanctions. I think it would be wrong to place too much emphasis on this approach, because it will not be easy to achieve and it may result in all kinds of delays, meaning that some of the good things will not get done and will be delayed for this one reason. Harmonised sanctions often result in minimum sanctions, and these are often not draconian enough to discourage such highly-organised crime syndicates.

Let us not get hung up on this, but rather let us concentrate on the detection process, particularly online. As was mentioned by Mr Poc, this is a growing area. This trade is expanding exponentially as the internet expands. It is in this area that the EU can concentrate its efforts and add value.

The establishment of a specialised wildlife crime unit at Europol is a good idea, but we must consider the risks of subsidiarity and the costs of this action. There is little point in effectively deterring the use of Europe as a hub if the trade then moves elsewhere and does not diminish. This has to be a truly global effort working through the auspices of CITES, and the EU is part of this.

 
  
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  João Ferreira, em nome do Grupo GUE/NGL. – Os crimes contra a vida selvagem, como a caça furtiva e o comércio ilegal de espécies ou o trânsito ilegal de produtos e derivados da fauna e flora selvagens, adquirem hoje uma dimensão internacional que os situam entre as maiores e mais rentáveis atividades ilegais no mundo.

De acordo com a resolução em discussão, o volume de negócios associados a estes crimes eleva-se, numa estimativa por baixo, a pelo menos 19 mil milhões de dólares por ano.

Enquanto a procura permanecer elevada e o esforço de aplicação da legislação for reduzido, o comércio legítimo continuará a servir de fachada ao comércio ilegal e a estimular a caça furtiva.

Para além de uma ameaça direta à sobrevivência de várias espécies, estes crimes comportam perigos significativos para os ecossistemas autóctones decorrentes, por exemplo, da disseminação descontrolada no ambiente de espécies exóticas.

A União Europeia sendo simultaneamente um mercado importante e uma rota de trânsito do comércio ilegal de espécies selvagens, tem responsabilidades no combate a este fenómeno que não deve alijar. Para além do reforço no empenho da aplicação das convenções internacionais e no seu fortalecimento importa, num quadro de reforço da cooperação entre Estados-Membros, adequar os quadros jurídicos nomeadamente no que respeita a sanções, prosseguir políticas que dissuadam o consumo de produtos oriundos de espécies selvagens vulneráveis e apoiar a recuperação e conservação de populações de espécies selvagens, o combate à caça furtiva envolvendo comunidades locais, em especial nos países em desenvolvimento.

 
  
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  Giancarlo Scottà, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi,

sono fortemente convinto che la lotta ai reati contro le specie selvatiche debba esser affrontata prima di tutto attraverso una più consapevole gestione delle pratiche venatorie. Negli ultimi anni la caccia sta subendo troppe restrizioni e complicazioni, tanto da scoraggiare gli stessi appassionati praticanti.

Non bisogna lasciarsi trasportare da distorte derive proibizionistiche. Esse, infatti, trascurano alcuni aspetti della caccia di fondamentale importanza per la biodiversità: si tende a non parlare, ad esempio, del fatto che la caccia responsabile e sostenibile può contribuire al mantenimento dell'equilibrio naturale, assicurando la salute e la stabilità delle popolazioni selvatiche. Per permettere ciò, tuttavia, bisogna risolvere il diffuso problema della carenza di dati omogenei ed esaustivi, che potrebbero consentire di valutare gli interventi più opportuni.

Un'altra esternalità positiva della caccia che tende ad esser trascurata è il suo ruolo centrale nel contrastare l'abbandono e l'incuria di molte aree verdi. Senza il contributo di tutti quei cacciatori che ogni anno praticano la loro attività venatoria nel pieno rispetto della normativa vigente, migliaia e migliaia di ettari di campagne e boschi non riceverebbero più tutte le cure che ogni cacciatore appassionato è solito fare, come, ad esempio, sfalci e potature, provocando irrimediabilmente una perdita di biodiversità e un avanzamento delle superfici boschive. Una corretta gestione faunistica, che a sua volta implica una buona attività venatoria, garantisce quindi il mantenimento di un ecosistema stabile e sostenibile.

È allarmante, in questo senso, la dimensione assunta dalla questione dei danni all'agricoltura e all'ambiente da parte di alcune specie di fauna selvatica ed il conseguente impatto sull'attività economica delle imprese agricole. Molte di queste specie rientrano nelle liste delle specie protette ma le disposizioni normative per ottenere le deroghe sono, a volte, talmente complesse da ostacolare, fin dai primi passi, le autorità richiedenti, le quali preferiscono continuare a disporre risarcimenti agli agricoltori piuttosto che rischiare una procedura di infrazione.

Secondo un'indagine demoscopica svolta nel 2013 da AstraRicerche per il Comitato Nazionale Italiano Caccia e Natura, FACE Italia e Arcicaccia, la maggioranza degli italiani si dichiara favorevole alla caccia normata, limitata, responsabile e sostenibile. In particolare, si conferma l'esistenza di una correlazione statistica molto forte tra la notorietà delle norme, il consenso per esse e la buona valutazione della caccia. Di fondamentale importanza risulterebbe, perciò, una campagna di corretta informazione e divulgazione. Sono certo che la sua utilità sarebbe basilare anche nella lotta ai reati contro le specie selvatiche.

Vorrei, quindi, invitare tutti gli attori politici ad esser ben consapevoli che irrigidire…

(Il Presidente interrompe l'oratore)

(L'oratore accetta di rispondere a una domanda "cartellino blu" (articolo 149, paragrafo 8, del regolamento)).

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE), Domanda "cartellino blu". – Signor Presidente, ho ascoltato con attenzione l'intervento del collega. Benché l'oggetto della discussione non sia quello della caccia, volevo comunque chiedergli, visto che stiamo parlando di tutela di specie minacciate di estinzione a livello globale, quale sarebbe a suo avviso l'aiuto che l'attività venatoria potrebbe dare alla lotta contro il bracconaggio e il commercio internazionale di queste specie minacciate seriamente e che diminuiscono di giorno in giorno, come è stato riferito anche dagli altri colleghi.

Volevo inoltre sapere le fonti di tutti i dati che ha portato, visto che io sono del suo Stato membro, italiano anch'io, ma a me non risulta assolutamente…

(Il Presidente interrompe l'oratore)

 
  
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  Giancarlo Scottà (EFD), risposta a una domanda "cartellino blu". – Signor Presidente, sono d'accordissimo con gli argomenti che ho sentito all'inizio della battuta. Chiaramente non mi riferivo soltanto a quegli animali bensì a quanto rilevava il collega Zanoni, secondo cui c'è qualcuno che vorrebbe eliminare questo mondo venatorio: si sappia che nel momento in cui si elimina il mondo venatorio in Europa, si dà il via libera a tutto un sistema di bracconaggio, ottenendo gli stessi risultati che ci sono in Africa o in altri Stati e nazioni.

 
  
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  Andreas Mölzer (NI). - Herr Präsident! Um sie wirtschaftlich nutzen und jagen zu können, wurden bekanntlich in der Vergangenheit immer wieder Tierarten aus herkunftsfremden Regionen ausgesetzt. Man denke etwa an das im 18. Jahrhundert nach Australien verschleppte europäische Kaninchen. Dieses hat sich wegen des Mangels natürlicher Feinde bekanntlich zu einer echten Landplage entwickelt. Die mittlerweile etwa 300 Millionen Kaninchen sind für die Zerstörung der Flora weiter Landstriche verantwortlich und richten ja wirklich erhebliche landwirtschaftliche Schäden an. Dass alleine seit der Besiedlung Australiens durch die Europäer insgesamt 36 Tierarten ausgestorben sind und weitere 45 gefährdet bzw. unmittelbar bedroht sind, sollte uns also ein warnendes Beispiel sein.

Es gibt aber auch Beispiele aus der heimischen Pflanzenwelt. So fällt demjenigen, der beispielsweise heute in meinem Heimatland Kärnten offenen Auges durch die Landschaft wandert, die massive Ausbreitung des als Zierpflanze aus den Gärten entwichenen japanischen Staudenknöterichs auf. Dieser verursacht die Verdrängung von Teilen der heimischen Pflanzenwelt und in der Folge auch von heimischen Tierarten.

Es ist also extrem wichtig, nicht nur den Handel mit wildlebenden Tier- und Pflanzenarten, sondern auch die Einschleppung invasiver Arten einzudämmen, um die heimische Flora und Fauna vor der Konkurrenz, vor Krankheiten und Verdrängung und letztlich der Ausrottung zu schützen. Das sind wir meines Erachtens unseren Kindern schuldig.

 
  
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  Jolanta Emilia Hibner (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Panie Komisarzu! Dzisiaj mamy okazję rozmawiać o bardzo ważnym temacie, który dotyczy całego świata. Można powiedzieć, że zajmujemy się teraz głównie przestępczością i przemytem, który jest w tej chwili powszechny i zwiększył się w ostatnim czasie, przemytem, który jest reakcją ludzi niewrażliwych na to, że możemy utracić bardzo wartościowe gatunki zarówno flory, jak i fauny.

Mówimy w tej chwili o tym, że istnieje zagrożenie ze strony międzynarodowych gangów. To już nie są jakieś poszczególne grupy, które chcą się tylko wzbogacić, ale międzynarodowe gangi, które prowadzą całą politykę wyniszczania gatunków dzikiej fauny i flory. Może to zagrozić całym ekosystemom, co oznacza, że zajmujemy się tylko niewielką warstwą przestępczości, a tymczasem jest to przestępczość globalna. Stwierdzenie to jest szczególnie ważne, bo wykrywalność tych przestępstw jest znacząco niska, kary też są niskie i nie dają żadnych efektów.

Mówimy w tej chwili o tym, że musi istnieć współpraca między naszymi państwami, którą prowadzi Interpol, ale – moim zdaniem – jest to obecnie niewystarczające. Nie tylko sam dokument, który ma dużą wartość edukacyjną, ale my sami powinniśmy teraz zwrócić się do osób znanych. Proszę Państwa! Przecież te wszystkie części zwierząt używane są do produkcji różnych akcesoriów: torebek, pasków, elementów ozdobnych używanych głównie przez ludzi bogatych i znanych, którzy pokazują, że mają jedną niepowtarzalną rzecz, wyprodukowaną w sposób specjalny, właśnie z tychże części zwierząt. Musimy apelować przede wszystkim do nich, pokazywać, że ich postępowanie jest sprzeczne z ecodesign. Wszyscy mówimy o tym, że powinniśmy żyć w zgodzie z przyrodą, ale to my tę przyrodę w sposób świadomy niszczymy. Osoby znane powinny wiedzieć, że takie czyny są w ich środowisku nie do przyjęcia, niestosowne i z takim postępowaniem powinniśmy walczyć, a nie tylko stosować kary i odpowiednie prawo.

 
  
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  Marita Ulvskog (S&D). - Herr talman! Man kan räkna allt från tjuvjakt till illegal avverkning och illegal utförsel av vilda djur och växter till de naturvårdsbrott som vi diskuterar här. Och som redan framgått av debatten: Det är ingenting som sker långt borta från oss, utan det är en brottslig verksamhet som i högsta grad äger rum också i Europa. Framför allt är Europa en av de viktigaste destinationsmarknaderna.

Vi måste alltså agera för att minska efterfrågan också här i Europa. Det ska vara fult och det ska vara någonting man måste skämmas över, att vara en spekulant och köpare på denna marknad, som enligt den senaste siffran omsätter mångmiljardbelopp, uppemot 19–20 miljarder amerikanska dollar varje år. Det är det ena. Det andra är att vi via global respons och globalt samarbete måste minska också själva brottsligheten och inte bara efterfrågan.

 
  
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  Andrea Zanoni (ALDE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Commissario, grazie anche all'intervento del collega Gerbrandy. Non abbiamo più tempo da perdere: ogni quindici minuti, bracconieri senza scrupoli uccidono al mondo un elefante per le sue zanne, per un totale di trentaseimila elefanti in un anno. Se andiamo avanti così di questo passo, entro il 2025 su questo pianeta gli elefanti non ci saranno più.

Queste cifre di morte ci obbligano a reagire urgentemente. La lotta contro il bracconaggio, contro il commercio illecito di specie di flora e fauna selvatiche minacciate di estinzione deve essere una priorità irrinunciabile dell'intera Unione europea. I reati contro le specie selvatiche rappresentano infatti una gravissima attività criminale transfrontaliera dal fatturato annuo pari ad almeno diciannove miliardi di dollari. I dati forniti da Interpol e dal Fondo internazionale per il benessere degli animali parlano chiaro: in questi ultimi anni ci sono state diverse iniziative importanti ma che non sono bastate a contrastare efficacemente questo terribile fenomeno.

L'Unione europea deve fare la sua parte: aiutare i paesi esportatori a proteggere la loro fauna selvatica e promuovere campagne nei paesi consumatori come la Cina, la Thailandia e il Vietnam per fermare la domanda di prodotti di animali selvatici illegali come corni di rinoceronte, ossa di tigre e zanne d'avorio. Servono sanzioni severe, esemplari ed efficaci per questi trafficanti che stanno mettendo a rischio l'esistenza di questi animali sempre più rari e servono moratorie nazionali su tutte le importazioni e le esportazioni commerciali e soprattutto sulle vendite e gli acquisti nazionali che si svolgono all'interno dell'Unione europea.

Coerentemente, la caccia da trofeo non si può considerare etica poiché è all'origine di una riduzione su larga scala delle specie minacciate. Pertanto gli Stati membri devono sostenere la revisione delle disposizioni giuridiche dell'Unione che disciplinano l'importazione di trofei di caccia negli Stati membri e vietare definitivamente i permessi per l'importazione di trofei di tutte le specie in via di estinzione. Quindi: tolleranza zero nei confronti di tutte le forme di bracconaggio, comprese quelle nei confronti di diverse specie di fauna selvatica anche all'interno dello stesso territorio dell'Unione europea.

L'Unione europea può e deve svolgere velocemente un ruolo cruciale nella lotta contro il bracconaggio: ma non abbiamo più tempo e quindi bisogna agire velocemente.

 
  
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  James Nicholson (ECR). - Mr President, I would first like to thank all those involved. This is certainly a very good idea which has come forward. During my time on the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering, it became clear that wildlife crime and particularly wildlife trafficking have become another big business for organised crime groups. Europol estimates that trafficking of endangered species generates around EUR 18 to 26 billion per year.

With the EU the foremost destination, wildlife crime at local, national and international level has become very attractive to criminals who operate in a vacuum of weak penalties and poor levels of law enforcement. In my own constituency in Northern Ireland, a Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime has been established, consisting of the police service and the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This partnership aims to raise awareness and establish a Northern Ireland network of contact points in order to prevent wildlife crime like the kite poisoning and the freshwater pearl mussel poaching which are some of the blights that happen in my constituency. I am pleased to say that there is evidence to suggest that initiatives like the one launched in Cookstown last August to prevent deer poaching have had a real impact in preventing wildlife crime.

Wildlife crimes can be tackled if successes like this are built upon. We must ensure that appropriate funding is allocated to fight against wildlife crime. This is particularly relevant, as funds for the next period of rural development are currently being carved up by the Member States. The Rural Development Fund is of enormous importance, and it must be apportioned to the rural communities efficiently and effectively. This money must be spent in tackling the real social, economic and environmental challenges faced in these areas and should not become embroiled in a political pantomime. We do not need more legislation, but we do need to enforce the legislation that we have and to make it work.

 
  
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  Phil Bennion (ALDE). - Mr President, I welcome this oral question, which is particularly relevant, given that wildlife crimes and rural crimes in general are increasing at an alarming rate both within the EU and worldwide. This type of crime is not just restricted to the developing world; we in Europe also have a big problem. It can take many forms, from taking the eggs of rare birds or even the birds themselves through to issues like deer poaching.

We do not even mention here associated rural crimes. Last week thieves stole more than 100 sheep from a farmer in Perton in Staffordshire, my own county in England, and just a couple of years ago a lorry load of free-range pigs disappeared from a field near where I live.

Wildlife criminals often operate with impunity, and today wildlife crime is the fifth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to GBP 6 billion annually – and it is not just the developing world which is responsible for this. Although the ivory trade is probably the most prominent and most well-known, EU demand is a big issue here. We have to work with CITES to try and squeeze out the demand.

The UK has a national wildlife crime unit, which gathers intelligence and gives free assistance to police forces. What action has been taken by the European Commission to ensure that all Member States are combating wildlife crime and are working together to solve this issue? Has the European Commission been collecting data on the extent of wildlife crime in Europe, and are these crimes part of broader trafficking activities? It would be interesting to know the answers to these questions.

 
  
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  Struan Stevenson (ECR). - Mr President, I very much welcome the need to enhance wildlife law enforcement and to give serious organised wildlife crimes the same level of penalty as human trafficking, weapons trafficking or drug running. To do this, we must of course increase support for range states in order to help them fight organised poaching and trafficking, and in order actively to promote campaigns which aim to blacklist illegal products.

However, I must stress that whilst the resolution has merit and mentions a great many important issues, I feel that, due to the clash with the Christmas break, colleagues have been denied a proper debate on this subject. I understand that IUCN has written to all the political groups asking for a delay in order for more time to be given to this important issue. However, this request was not accepted, resulting in an inaccurate and hurried resolution. I hope that, at this late stage, colleagues will call for the correction of some of the factual inaccuracies in the resolution, such as figures quoted for the global value of wildlife crime, and especially for the resolution to be broadened to consider issues related to the role of local communities and incentives for local people to value wildlife and support anti-wildlife crime efforts.

The wording of this resolution gives the wrong impression that all wildlife trade is harmful to conservation, without recognising that much wildlife trade – which includes timber, fish and plants used in cosmetics and healthcare – forms a vital component of local livelihood strategies, particularly for poor rural people. Much of this is also sustainable. The resolution ignores the role that well-managed sustainable use and trade can play in promoting effective wildlife conservation and species recovery.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye-Verfahren

 
  
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  Tonino Picula (S&D). - Gospodine predsjedavajući, smatram da je Rezolucija ponudila dobra rješenja o tome kako se boriti protiv krivolova, krijumčarenja, prodaje i kupnje zaštićenih biljnih i životinjskih vrsta.

Pored svega što se predlaže, želio bih naglasiti i važnost edukacije, kako lokalnog stanovništva u državama krivolova, tako i u državama članicama Europske unije gdje se nalaze konzumenti proizvoda divlje flore i faune. Zabrinjavajući su podaci prema kojima se na području Europske unije od krijumčarenja ugroženih vrsti zaradilo između 18 i 26 milijardi eura, dok trgovina proizvodima na internetu vrijedi 10 milijardi dolara godišnje.

Uz predložena rješenja koja podržavam, naglašavam važnost dodatnih anti-kampanja, kojima bi se posjedovanje takvih proizvoda stavljalo u negativan kontekst. Na taj način, oni ne bi više odavali sliku bogatstva i prestiža vlasnika, već sliku okrutnosti i bešćutnosti. Kao dobar primjer može poslužiti životinjsko krzno koje se sve više zamjenjuje umjetnim. Takve trendove moramo nastaviti promovirati putem koordiniranih akcija na europskoj i globalnoj razini. Vjerujem da bi se tako smanjila potražnja za ovim vrstama te posljedično spriječilo njihovo izumiranje.

 
  
 

(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)

 
  
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  Janez Potočnik, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, first of all I should be very clear that when we talk about wildlife and crime, we are talking about organised crime and about one of the major forms of criminal activity, be it in terms of volume or in terms of consequences. These are unquestionable facts and the situation is worsening, and that is why today’s discussion is absolutely necessary and timely.

There are many areas of direct relevance for the European Union: biodiversity, of course, but also governance, development, international trade, transnational crime, peace and stability in certain regions, and so on. I mentioned some of them in my introductory speech.

This is a problem typically linked to the globalisation of the economy and the globalisation of trade, and it needs a global response. The European Union definitely has an interest in stepping up action to tackle it and in shaping the global response and, if I am frank, I am happy to see that the United States too is stepping up these types of activity.

However, we should not underestimate what we are doing ourselves: preparing the communication, on which I am working together with Commissioner Malmström and which will be published in a month’s time; organising the conference I have mentioned; and preparing the consultation process. We are by no means inactive; on the contrary, as I mentioned, as recently as December a special new programme was announced, with financing from the European Development Fund, to try to address this issue. Collectively, as the Union, and individually in our own countries, we are among the leaders in the international community’s efforts against wildlife trafficking.

I also mentioned that I am working with Commissioner Piebalgs, and I will continue to work with him to make sure this issue is properly taken into account, especially when we discuss the geographical allocation of funding.

There are other activities too. For example, we systematically raise the question in our political and trade bilateral-relations contacts with a number of key countries, including China, Vietnam and Thailand. It is an area which we discuss with our US counterparts in the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and we expect it will also be an important topic at the forthcoming meeting between the European Union and the African Union in April 2014.

So yes, it is on our agenda. It is at the top of the political agenda, where it deserves to be, and with today’s discussion it is getting a further push. The forthcoming communication will serve to identify any gaps which need to be filled and to indicate whether there is added value in bringing the different measures under the umbrella of a single strategy or action plan, and raising their profile beyond traditional environmental circles.

Maybe I should also mention that the EU is the biggest donor to the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime, which brings together Interpol, CITES, the World Customs Organisation, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Bank. We are contributing approximately EUR 1.7 million on a three-year basis. So, yes, we are aware of the problem and we are trying to tackle it.

I will now turn to some specific questions which you raised. On hunting trophies, the Commission is in the process of amending the rules which govern the importation into the European Union of hunting trophies of some species – for example, lions – where hunting trophies might represent a threat to their sustainability, given the level of imports in freight.

The same is true for elephants and rhinos, so the Commission will soon propose an amendment to the regulation for those species. With this change, the authorities in charge of implementing CITES in our Member States will have to check whether an import is sustainable before authorising it. If they consider that this is not the case, no import permit will be delivered and the import will not take place.

Regarding support for the detection of online trade, EU enforcement officers are already coordinating action to improve the investigation of trafficking, including internet trade. The consultation process will address this and will identify whether additional steps are needed.

Finally, concerning data, enforcement groups meet twice a year and, yes, we collect data from Member States on enforcement, prosecutions and so on. We have an annual reporting process, so we are not starting from scratch. We are pretty busy, but it is clear that criminal activity in this area is increasing and that it warrants more of our attention as well as new, innovative methods.

We will not find the answer only from an environmental angle: that is absolutely clear, because we are talking about a major form of organised crime. This is why I am working together with my colleagues, Commissioners Malmström, Georgieva, Piebalgs and De Gucht, and with Baroness Ashton: we are working together because there is no other way to find an effective solution to these criminal activities.

Thank you for the debate today and for the attention you are giving to this terrible problem.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Zum Abschluss der Aussprache wurde gemäß Artikel 115 Absatz 5 der Geschäftsordnung ein Entschließungsantrag eingereicht.

Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet am Mittwoch, 15. Januar, um 12.00 Uhr statt.

 
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