Before a decision is made here, however, the Brussels authorities want to collect more data on the subject. A spokesman for the Commission on Monday in Brussels did not want to commit to whether the protection status of wolves will be relaxed at the end of the process. “The concentration of wolf packs in some European regions has become a real danger for herds of cattle and potentially also for people,” says EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a broadcast. She calls on local and national authorities to take action where necessary. EU legislation already allows this.
Before it is decided whether there will be changes beyond that, “local communities, scientists and all interested parties” are now called upon to provide more information on the subject of wolves by September 22nd. According to a Commission spokesman, the types of data that are required are still being specified. As early as April, they started collecting data from experts and national authorities; now the consultation should be expanded.
Action plan of Austria and Sweden
Austria’s Minister of Agriculture Norbert Totschnig (ÖVP) has also been campaigning for a long time to lower the protection status of wolves. Together with his Swedish counterpart Peter Kullgren (Christian Democrats), he announced last week that he wanted to initiate a corresponding action plan. ).
All 27 environment ministers must agree
Wolves are protected throughout the EU by the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive passed in 1992 and also by the 1979 Bern Convention of the Council of Europe. In its letter on Monday, the Commission affirmed that the wolf is an “integral element of Europe’s natural heritage” and plays an important role in the ecosystem. He enjoys a high level of protection, but exceptions are foreseen. However, a reform of the directive requires the approval of all 27 EU countries – and the environment ministers are responsible for this.
The ÖVP MEPs Simone Schmiedtbauer and Alexander Bernhuber welcome the reassessment of the protection status of wolves, but at the same time call for more speed from the Commission. ÖVP-EU agricultural spokeswoman Schmiedtbauer is certain that the evaluation will show “that the conservation status of wolves in Europe no longer justifies the strict level of protection.”
The Wolf Management Ordinance has been in force in Upper Austria since July 1st. Since then, two “risk wolves” have been released for shooting in the country. First on the Dachstein, then in the Freistadt district.