BirdLife Malta has just found out that following yesterday’s decision by the ORNIS Committee not to recommend the opening of a finch trapping season this year, the Framework Law that permits such a derogation has been repealed a few hours ago through Legal Notice 387 of 2021.
When one in fact tries to access the Framework Law, the Government’s online link to the original law declares this as having been “repealed by Legal Notice 387 of 2021”. The Framework Legislation issued last year as Legal Notice 399 of 2020 had set the parameters by which the Government could declare open the smokescreen “research derogation” for seven species of wild finch.
Government had resorted to this derogation in order to allow finch trapping under the guise of a scientific study following the landmark European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling of June 2018 which found Malta in breach of the EU Birds Directive in regard to finch trapping.
Reopening the season under the guise of a “scientific research” would have landed Malta at the ECJ again
However, even this smokescreen derogation was challenged by the European Commission with an Infringement Procedure initiated in December last year. Responses from the Government to justify this derogation failed short last June with the Commission taking the action a further step by sending a Reasoned Opinion to the Maltese Government (which is the second formal warning, following the Letter of Formal Notice).
It seems that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet have now allowed common sense to prevail, making sure Malta does not once again end up at the European Court of Justice which would be the last step in the Infringement Procedure.
We now await to hear a confirmation of today’s latest development from the Government.
Read the Maltese version of the press release here.