Biodiversity and Environment

 

Invasive Alien Species

In 2014, the EU adopted the Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. Animals or plants not native to European nature may do damage if they are introduced to local ecosystems, for example if such invasive species have no natural enemies in their new habitat. Regulation Regulation (EU) No 1143/201 seek to prevent the impact of invasive species on European biodiversity and related ecosystem services.

Though not of European origin, and at the same time a possible treat to ecosystems when found in European nature, the farmed Finnraccoon and American Mink cannot be considered invasive alien species. As the American Mink and the Finnraccoon have “significant socio-economic impact” in Europe they do not fulfill the regulation’s criteria for being listed as invasive alien species.

Link to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species  [External link]

 

Trapping

In 1991, the EU adopted the Regulation 3254/91 prohibiting the use of leg-hold traps in the Community and the introduction into the Community of pelts and manufactured goods of certain wild animal species originating from countries which catch these animals with leg-hold traps or use trapping methods which do not meet international humane trapping standards.

Link to Council Regulation 3254/91  [External link]

Six years later, in 1997, the EU concluded an agreement with Canada and the Russian Federation named Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS). The agreement was inspired by the desire to agree on international humane trapping standards as well as to avoid trade disputes with the main international fur exporters. The aim of the established humane trapping standards is to ensure a sufficient level of welfare for trapped animals, and to further improve this welfare. In 2016, the parties who have signed the AIHTS agreement must have tested, certified and implemented the humane trapping standards.

Link to the Council of the European Union’s decision to adopt the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards  [External link]

Fur Europe cooperates with FACE, the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the European Union, on the implementation of AIHTS in member states. FACE has developed science-based trapping guidelines which are endorsed and promoted by Fur Europe. The trapping guidelines are regularly updated.

Link to the trapping guidelines of the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the European Union  [External link]

These trapping guidelines set out to:

  • Provide up-to-date information on trapping techniques.
  • Establish a platform of competence on trapping.
  • Assist the EU and its member states in implementing the AIHTS under Article 8(b) of the agreement.
  • Ensure that trapping is well understood and valued as a technique for wildlife management and research.
  • Promote trapping as sustainable use of natural resources.

 

Seals

In 2009, the EU adopted the Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on trade in seal products, banning all respective imports, exports and sales. The regulation included two exemptions. The first exemption concerns marine resource management (MRM) allowing the small-scale or non-profit placing of seal products on the market. The second exemption is known as the Inuit exemption and refers to seal products hunted traditionally by Inuit populations or other indigenous communities (also called the IC excemption).

Link to Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009 on Trade in Seal Products  [External link]

The regulation was however challenged by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in May 2014, and the Commission has now launched a proposal to bring the EU seal regime into compliance with the WTO rules. WTO has challenged the legitimacy of the MRM exemption as seemingly inconsistent with the original ban, as well as the Inuit exemption because of the lack of a clear distinction between traditional and commercial seal hunt.

 

Animal Waste

The specific category of animal waste is governed by the Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 laying down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption. This Regulation is designed to avoid the affection on existing environmental legislation, or hinder the development of new rules on environmental protection, particularly with regards to biodegradable waste. The regulation lays down rules for:

  • The collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use or disposal of animal by-products, to prevent these products from presenting a risk to animal or public health.
  • The placing on the market and, in certain specific cases, the export and transit of animal by-products and products derived from animal by-products.

Link to Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 [External link]

However, animal waste is included into a wider context of EU waste policies and programmes. The 7th European Action Programme (EAP) will be guiding European environment policy until 2020. Its three key objectives are:

  • To protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital.
  • To turn the Union into a resource-efficient, green, and competitive low-carbon economy.
  • To safeguard the Union’s citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing.

Link the decision on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet  [External link]

Under Europe 2020, the EU’s growth strategy for a smart, inclusive and sustainable economy, we find the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe (COM(2011) 571). This roadmap outlines how we can transform Europe’s economy into a sustainable one by 2050. It proposes ways to increase resource productivity and decouple economic growth from resource use and its environmental impact.

Link to Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe  [External link]

At the heart of resource efficiency agenda is the Commission’s aim to present a new and ambitious so-called circular economy strategy late in 2015. This means re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products – what used to be regarded as ‘waste’ can be turned into a resource. The aim is to look beyond waste and to close the loop of the circular economy.

Link the European Commission’s webpage towards a circular economy strategy  [External link]

 

Biofuels

Serving mainly as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels in the EU’s transport sector, biofuels can be proved vital in the reduction of greenhouse emissions. To ensure that biofuels are produced and used in a way that guarantees real carbon savings and protects biodiversity, it has established a set of sustainability criteria. For example, to be considered sustainable, biofuels must achieve greenhouse gas savings of at least 35% in comparison to fossil fuels.

Link EU’s sustainability criteria on biofuels and bioliquids  [External link]

At EU level, biofuels are currently regulated by the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC) and the Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC).

Finally, the Commission’s Energy Union Package is currently under negotiation. Biofuels constitute an integral part of this strategy, as reduction of emissions/greenhouse gasses is one of the main pillars towards energy efficiency.

Link the Commission’s Communication on Union Energy  [External link]