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2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 147 E/125

(2002/C 147 E/130) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3183/01

by Carlos Bautista Ojeda (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(20 November 2001)

Subject: Damage to crops by wild fauna in the Baza national park (Spain)

Farmers owning land on the edge of the Sierra de Baza national park (Spain) have complained at the
substantial and systematic damage being caused to their crops, and particularly to their almond trees, by
the park’s wild fauna. These problems occur every summer, owing to the specific characteristics of
Mediterranean woodland in general and the local climate conditions in particular, thanks to which a
temporary food shortage appears at that time and the animals are obliged to seek nourishment outside the
limits of the Baza park.

In the face of this situation, the farmers have proposed three types of measure: compensation for the
damage caused; culling plans to prevent crop damage; and the establishment of an agreement stipulating
that it will not be necessary to take out legal procedures over damage caused and that the simple fact of
noting the damage will suffice to make its existence official. The environment ministry of the regional
government of Andalusia has not, however, taken up any of these options for dealing with the problem.

Situations as this are extremely prejudicial to the interests of the national parks themselves, since they can
lead to conflicts which may, in some cases, result in disasters or serious ecological misdemeanours (arson,
deforestation, poaching, invasive development etc).

Is the Commission aware of the problems at the source of the complaints lodged by the Association of
Damage Victims of the Fauna of the Sierra de Baza National Park and the ‘Proyecto Sierra de Baza’
Association? What action does the Commission intend to take?

Does the Commission consider that the management of national parks and rural development in the
adjoining areas calls for an approach based on joint administration, with the participation of the
communities affected, thus allowing them to share in the benefits, both environmental and economic, of
the conservation of natural areas and sustainable resource exploitation?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(15 January 2002)

The Commission is not aware of the facts referred to by the Honourable Member. Solving this type of
practical problem is, moreover, a matter for the national and/or regional authorities, not the Community.

Some measures adopted under the rural development programmes could help tackle the sources of
concern mentioned by the Honourable Member. The new rural development policy adopted in June 1999
seeks to establish a coherent and permanent framework to guarantee the future of rural areas by
encouraging the maintenance and creation of employment and by taking account of environmental

The structural measures provided for by Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 on support for rural
development from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) (1) include aid for
investments in agricultural holdings to preserve the natural environment, compensatory allowances in less-
favoured areas, agri-environmental aid and support for agricultural and rural activities to protect the

These measures have been incorporated into the Spanish rural development programme for accompanying
measures, the operational programme for improving production structures in areas covered by Objective 1
in Spain, and the regional operational programme for Andalusia. To secure a Community contribution in
the case mentioned by the Honourable Member, the practical initiatives requested by the farmers
concerned would have to have been included in the measures in the programmes drawn up by the
national and the Andalusian Governments. They would also have had to be recognised as eligible and the
different partners would have had to agree on them.
C 147 E/126 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 20.6.2002

It should be noted that these programmes are managed at Member State level and, therefore, by the
national and/or regional authorities, not the Commission.

The Natural Park of Sierra de Baza (Granada) has in any event been proposed by the Spanish authorities as
a site of Community interest which could be integrated into the Natura 2000 network.

Where sites of Community interest are concerned, Member States are obliged to adopt the statutory,
administrative or contractual measures required to preserve the habitats in Annex I and the species in
Annex II of Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and
flora (2), and to achieve the general objectives of this Directive.

However, the management of potential Natura 2000 network sites is the responsibility of the Member
States, the Commission’s role consisting in ensuring compliance with Community law.

(1) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999.

(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2002/C 147 E/131) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3186/01

by Hanja Maij-Weggen (PPE-DE) to the Council

(23 November 2001)

Subject: Bush meat

Can the Council confirm that on 6 November it received 340 000 signatures from European citizens
protesting against increasing European sales of African bush meat, which represents exports of four
million tonnes a year?

Does the Council know that this meat comes from wild animals in Africa, including some that are under
threat of extinction?

Is the Council prepared to introduce an import ban on this meat or strict, controlled import quotas
because otherwise certain groups of African wild animals will become extinct within ten years as a result
of these exports?


(18 March 2002)

The Council notes with interest the Honourable Member’s reference to a document containing 340 000
signatures from European citizens protesting against the increasing European sales of African bush meat,
but has, to date, not received that document.

The Council also notes the information provided by the Honourable Member that this bush meat comes
from wild animals in Africa, some of which are under threat of extinction.

As for the imposition of an import ban or controlled import quotas, it is up to the Commission to
examine this question thoroughly and to report to Council and, if appropriate, to come forward with a
concrete proposal.