Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union, in the thirty-eighth meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats, with regards to amendments to Appendices II and III
1. The Commission’s proposal document outlines two amendments to the Appendices of the Convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (Bern Convention). The document was circulated in support of preparations for the upcoming 38th Meeting of the Bern Convention Standing Committee.
2. The Swiss Government is calling for the level of protection afforded to wolves under the Bern Convention be downgraded. The Norwegian Government is calling for a similar downgrade of protection for barnacle geese.
Wolf (Canis lupus)
3. Switzerland asserts that the European wolf population no longer requires a strict (Bern Appendix II) level of protection. Their proposal to move wolves to Appendix III would allow the management and control of wolves (including via hunting) without the need to issue exceptions under the Convention.
4. The Commission acknowledges the challenges arising from the recovery of wolf populations. However, lowering their protection status is not justified from a scientific and conservation point of view.
5. In 2019, Member States will provide reports on the local conservation status of the wolf, as required by the Habitats Directive. The Commission proposes to defer establishing a position until this information is available.
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
6. Barnacle goose populations in Europe have rapidly increased in recent years. This has led to impacts on human interests, notably agricultural and air-strike risk.
7. Norway proposes to down-list barnacle geese from Bern Appendix II to Appendix III. This proposal is not in line with the current legal protection status of Barnacle Goose under the EU Birds Directive (the species is listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive; i.e. requiring designation of Special Protection Areas).