José Herrera dodges question on hunting during meeting with MEPs

The Maltese environment minister was asked how Malta oversees its derogation from the Birds Directive, but José Herrera thought this could be discussed ‘at a later stage’

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Yannick Pace
24 January 2017, 2:50pm
Environment Minister Jose Herrera
Environment Minister Jose Herrera
Environment Minister José Herrera has a dodged a direct question on Malta’s hunting policies, arguing that this could be “discussed at a later stage”.

Herrera was delivering a presentation to the European Parliament’s environment committee during which he presented Malta’s environmental priorities during its Presidency for the European Council.

British MEP Julie Girling (European Conservative) asked Herrera on how Malta oversees its derogation from the Birds Directive.

“The issues brought up with regards to hunting in Malta could be discussed at a later stage,” said Herrera, adding that he did not feel that it was appropriate to discuss the issue during the meeting.

Malta is the only country to allow recreational spring hunting, during which hunters can shoot turtle doves and quail although last May, the government agreed to declare a moratorium on the application of spring hunting derogation for the turtle dove.

During his presentation, Herrera repeated the government mantra that Malta will seek to play the role of “an honest broker” when discussing issues which do not enjoy the agreement of member states.

He spoke of the need to push forward files and policies that can strike allow the EU to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.

The minister said that the Maltese presidency would above all else be focusing on climate change, the circular economy and the United Nation’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

On climate change, Herrera said that recent developments in the United States meant that Europe must now, more than ever before, take the lead in ensuring that progress continues to be made.

“The process is fragile and we must ensure that the EU continues to lead by example,” he said.

Herrera said that the Presidency will also push forward the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS), which was set up with the intention of reducing gas emissions and fighting climate change.

With regards to the EU’s push for a circular economy – a proposal for regulating every step of economic activities, from consumption and production all the way through to waste management – Herrera said that the presidency has the same ambitions for the proposal as that expressed by the Commission and that the Maltese presidency will continue to prioritize work on this file.

He also emphasised the importance of stepping up efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance: “We are preparing to review our commitment with a revised action plan on anti-microbial resistance.”

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...