Preliminary ruling of the ECJ – the Finnish wolf case vol. II

The European Court of Justice has given a preliminary ruling concerning the managemental hunting of wolves in Northern Savonia 2016. The request for the ruling was made by the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland after the Administrative Court of Eastern Finland had rejected two appeals of the Nature Conservation Association Tapiola Pohjois-Savo – Kainuu, after the Court of Eastern Finland had concluded that the association had no right to appeal.

In its ruling, the ECJ outlines the purpose and the spirit of the Habitats directive (92/43/ETY) and argues in larger context, that the managemental hunting of wolves did not follow the directive’s strict premises.

In addition, the ECJ recognizes the inadequate conditions which occurred during the hunt, such as the identification of wolves and the fact that the recommendations in hunting permits were not binding. The Court also underlines, that the concept of favorable conservation status requires a long-term reviewing, and highlights biological premises. Killing as a measure is always the last resort and other satisfactory alternatives are primary.

“We find this decision very positive and the Court has a similar point of view with the Commission and our statements” says Sari Kantinkoski, the secretary of Tapiola association.

“The Court also highlights that the precautionary principle and other available resources should be so effective, that there’s no need to rely on the last resort. The decision is thorough and comprehensive and gives guidelines for the future” states Leena Iivonen, the president of the board.

The desicion is available here:  C‑674/17