Full text 
Procedure : 2007/2531(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0119/2007

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 13/03/2007 - 19
CRE 13/03/2007 - 19

Votes :

PV 15/03/2007 - 5.3
CRE 15/03/2007 - 5.3
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
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Thursday, 15 March 2007 - Strasbourg
Illegal bird hunting in Malta

European Parliament resolution of 15 March 2007 on the hunting and trapping of migratory birds in spring in Malta

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Petition 794/2004, Petition 334/2005 and Petition 886/2005,

–   having regard to the Report on the fact-finding mission carried out by the Committee on Petitions to Malta between 9 and 12 May 2006,

–   having regard to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of wild birds(1) (the 'Birds Directive'),

–   having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(2) (the 'Habitats Directive'),

–   having regard to Articles 10, 226 and 242 of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Oral Question B6-0015/2007,

–   having regard to Rules 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the European Parliament has received several petitions against the practice of hunting and trapping migratory birds in spring in Malta, including a petition from the Belgian Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, signed by 300 000 people in Europe , more than 4 000 of whom were from Malta; whereas 115 000 people in Europe, notably from the UK, petitioned the Maltese Government in February 2007 in protest against the spring hunting,

B.   whereas the Committee on Petitions has examined the allegations made in the petitions and has dispatched a delegation to Malta pursuant to Rule 192(3) of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament in order to establish the facts of the situation in situ,

C.   whereas the report on that fact-finding mission concluded that, although certain efforts had been made by the Maltese authorities responsible to bring national legislation and its application into line with Community law, the sustainability and survival of populations of several species of migratory birds still face serious threats from illegal and indiscriminate hunting and trapping when birds of those species pass through Malta during their spring migration,

D.   whereas the report on the fact-finding mission also raises concerns about Malta's compliance with both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive and about the illegal hunting and the trapping of protected species, in particular birds of prey,

E.   whereas spring hunting and trapping are defended by Maltese hunters as part of their cultural tradition; whereas, however, the resting space available for migratory birds has diminished considerably in recent years, due to urban development, and whereas new methods and weaponry have also made hunting more efficient and thus more damaging to populations of migratory birds, causing the local eradication of birds such as the Peregrine Falcon and Barn Owl,

F.   whereas opinion polls appear to show that a broad majority of Maltese society is against current hunting practices,

G.   whereas the Government of Malta has decided to open a spring hunting season for Turtle Dove and Quail, both declining species, from 10 April to 20 May 2007, and a trapping season from 26 March to 20 May 2007,

H.   whereas Malta is one of the principal bottlenecks for birds migrating between Europe and Africa; whereas a recent study contained evidence of birds, many of which were rare or endangered, being shot in 35 countries, mostly European States, and trapped in 19 countries,

I.   whereas the Commission is investigating whether Malta's transposition of the Birds Directive fulfils the requirements of the Directive and whether the legislation is being correctly applied, and has commenced infringement proceedings against Malta for failure to comply fully with Article 9 of the Directive,

J.   whereas the Commission has recommended that the Government of Malta should not allow spring hunting this year and has stated that if spring hunting is to be authorised in 2007 the Commission intends to examine, in a joint case, the spring hunting that was also permitted in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and to dispatch a Reasoned Opinion to Malta on the matter,

K.   whereas Member States' obligation to cooperate fully with the Commission when it is acting within its powers under Article 226 of the EC Treaty follows from the principle of cooperation in good faith laid down in Article 10 of the EC Treaty,

1.  Takes note of the report on the fact-finding mission of the Committee of Petitions during which the facts were examined in situ between 9 and 12 May 2006, and supports the recommendations in the report;

2.  Shares the concerns expressed in the report on the fact-finding mission, in particular in respect of the authorisation given as regards the hunting of resting migratory birds in spring and the illegal hunting and the trapping of protected species, including in areas protected under Community law;

3.  Condemns all types of illegal hunting in all Member States;

4.  Calls on the Maltese Government and the Commission to publish their full technical positions on the subject;

5.  Welcomes the Commission's decision to investigate the compliance of Maltese legislation and its application with the Birds Directive and strongly urges the Commission to redouble its efforts to persuade the Maltese authorities to comply fully with Community law;

6.  Also calls on the Maltese Government to fully comply with the Birds Directive, relevant Community law and the terms of the Accession Treaty as signed by the Maltese Government;

7.  Welcomes the decision of the Maltese Government to address cases of abuse, inter alia, by increasing fines to a maximum of €14 000 and providing for terms of imprisonment of up to two years and the permanent revocation of hunting licences in the case of recidivists;

8.  Also welcomes the decision of the Maltese Government to ban the trapping of finches and the hunting of birds at sea during spring;

9.  Reiterates the principle of cooperation in good faith laid down in Article 10 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Member States have agreed to cooperate fully with the Community Institutions;

10.  Notes that the principle of cooperation in good faith is of particular importance when the Commission is acting in its capacity as 'guardian of the treaties' and investigating the compliance of Member States with Community law pursuant to Article 226 of the EC Treaty;

11.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Government and Parliament of Malta.

(1) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

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