The Italian wing of WWF takes on Lombard over bird protection

WWF Italia has begun proceedings against an Italian region over failures to protect wild birds.

Case C-60/05, Reference for a preliminary ruling - WWF Italia

Following a reference for a preliminary ruling having been made to the ECJ in proceedings between WWF Italia and Others and Regione di Lombardia on a number of questions concerning the Wild Birds Directive (Directive 79/409/EEC), the Advocate General delivered his Opinion on 16 February 2006. The main question arising in the Preliminary Reference was whether Directive 79/409/EC was to be interpreted as meaning that, irrespective of the internal allocation of powers between the State and the Regions laid down by national systems, the Member States must prepare implementing provisions governing all situations considered deserving of protection, in particular as regards ensuring that hunting derogations do not exceed the small numbers laid down in Article 9(1)(c)? In his Opinion, the Advocate General has stated that Article 9(1)(c) of the directive obliges the Member States at the time of the transposition of this provision to ensure that in the event of application of the exemption which it contains, the authorized captures do not exceed the maximum quantities such as are envisaged in the wording "in small quantities". Even if the implementation of this is entrusted to decentralized regional authorities, the Member States remain obliged to ensure the result aimed by Article 9(1)(c) of the Directive. Various other questions were put to the Court regarding the Directive, also dealt with in the Opinion delivered on 16 February 2006.

The full opinion can be accessed in a number of European languages here.

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