‘FKNK’s bad advice to Abela led to EU action’, BirdLife says

BirdLife calls on Maltese government to live up to the European Green Deal

The latest infringement proceedings initiated by the European Commission against the Maltese government on spring hunting and trapping are the result of Prime Minister Robert Abela being given bad advice from Minister Clint Camilleri, Birdlife said.

“Malta in 2020 should be aligning itself to the European Green Deal and not taking measures to destroy more biodiversity. Malta should be aware that it cannot be a European Union Member State à la carte and that the spirit of the EU Accession Treaty must be respected,” CEO Mark Sultana said yesterday.

BirdLife Malta also called on the government to live up to the European Green Deal. With the European Commission finally holding Malta’s government accountable for the wrong decisions taken in opening hunting and trapping derogations based on the wrong advice of Clint Camilleri, Malta’s reputation had been put in bad light “because of decisions that took us back in time,” the NGO said.

The NGO dismissed as “laughable and ludicrous” accusations that Birdlife was harming Malta. “BirdLife Malta has over its 58 years of existence raised millions in cash into the Maltese economy in education, nature reserves and research. In the last 16 years of European Union membership, we have successfully won millions of euro in funds for employing people in the environment sector and scientific research.

“The hunting lobby, on the other hand, has worked hard to preserve outdated habits, blackmail politicians with their vote, kill protected species and block conservation measures that will serve future generations.”

Sultana said hunting lobby FKNK should realise that it was high time they stop taking their privileges for granted and that their abusive actions – in particular with illegal hunting and trapping – had harmed Malta for decades, “earning us the reputation as a country where ‘what flies, dies’.”

BirdLife Malta called upon Prime Minister Robert Abela and Opposition Leader Bernard Grech to “realise that the vast majority of Maltese and Gozitans are not hunters or trappers and want to live in a modern country which embraces the European Green Deal.”

FKNK: BirdLife is enriching itself using EU funds

The statement came shortly after hunters’ federation FKNK held a press conference of its own, in which it made several claims, amongst them that BirdLife Malta was enriching itself through EU funding.

At the press conference, FKNK president Lino Farrugia said the European Commission was being intransigent and inflexible in its interpretation of legal texts. “The principle of protection of diversity in cultures was set aside,” he said.

Farrugia claimed the language used by the Commission and BirdLife was the same and that this showed “the marriage between the two.” He accused BirdLife of making substantial financial gain from the land given to them. “Over 40 years Malta had lost a lot of practises to be in conformity with EU law,” Farrugia said, “but this is not enough for BirdLife Malta and the European Commission, who want to abolish hunting.”

He urged government and MEPs to defend the interests of the hunting lobby.