Birdlife says Abela given wrong advice to challenge EU & European Court

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Hunters and trappers are once again being granted with privileges on completely wrong premises and this is unacceptable, said Birdlife Malta during a press conference infront of Castille.

The NGO was referring to the large stretches of public land in Miżieb and L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa which were gifted to hunters after the government signed off the management of Miżieb and Aħrax woodlands in Mellieħa to the hunters’ lobby last Friday.

During the press conference, it was also mentioned how the last time there was a similar attempt was in March 1986 and at the time the Government had heeded environmental NGOs. Now, in a few days’ time, the Government will be opening a trapping season for songbirds.

Birdlife Malta said that this is a wrong decision, for many reasons:

  • Mainly because in 2018 Malta was stopped from opening a trapping season by the European Court
  • In its Accession Treaty to the European Union (EU), Malta had agreed to abolish trapping for songbirds by 2008. This had in fact materialised
  • However, in 2014, the Government opened the season again and in just four years was found guilty by the European Court of Justice of breaching the EU’s Birds Directive

BirdLife Malta officials explained how the present situation is completely surreal, with the Government this season challenging all this under the excuse that trappers will be carrying out a scientific study.

“Prim Minister Robert Abela should take note that if he opens this trapping season under the weak excuse of a scientific study he will be challenging the European Union and the European Court of Justice, resulting in Malta being taken once again to the European Court. Above all he should understand that this will be another step leading to the destruction of Malta’s environment,” said the NGO.

It has also reminded government that in 2015, following a national referendum about spring hunting, which was lost by just 2,000 votes, the then Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had promised his commitment to safeguard Malta’s natural environment. “This is the same government, with the same mandate. It is not a different government,” stated Birdlife Malta.