Coalition Against Spring Hunting confident that referendum is not in conflict with EU Treaties
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The Constitutional Court has still to announce the date when it will consider submissions in open Court relative to the objections to the referendum to abolish spring hunting from the hunting community, however, the Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting[i] has reaffirmed its position that the “proposed referendum does not conflict with EU Treaty obligations.”
The Coalition said that one of the major objections of the hunting organisations has been a claim that the referendum should not be allowed because it is an obligation of Malta to properly apply EU rules in national legislation. It claims that the legislation that allows spring hunting, which a successful referendum would abolish, does just that.
Romina Tolu, Campaign Coordinator said, “the legal representatives of the hunting organisations have clearly tried to mislead by claiming that the legislation that allows spring hunting is some sort of EU obligation. The legislation that transposes Malta’s EU obligations with respect to birds is a completely different piece of legislation: the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations[ii].”
The legislation[iii] that actually permits spring hunting in Malta is an exception to EU rules and therefore not a treaty obligation. Romina Tolu added,
“The legislation that permits spring hunting and which a successful referendum will abolish, actually goes against EU rules, because hunting of birds on their spring migration is expressly forbidden by EU Directives. It is highly disingenuous for the hunting lobby to attempt to confuse the Constitutional Court, in this manner.”[iv]
The Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting concluded by saying that it is looking forward to the Constitutional Court sitting which will hopefully lead to the date of the abrogative referendum.[v]
[i] The Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting is formed by 14 organisations in Malta to rally support, and lobby for an abrogative referendum on Spring Hunting; Alternattiva Demokratika, BirdLife Malta, Coalition for Animal Rights, Din L-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal-Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Gaia Foundation, Greenhouse Malta, International Animal Rescue Malta, Malta Organic Agriculture Movement, Moviment Graffiti, Nature Trust, Ramblers Association Malta, Youth for the Environment.
[ii]The answer is clear cut as the legislation which allows for a derogation to allow hunting in spring on Turtle Dove and Quails is not a transposition of EU legislation. It is Subsidiary Legislation 504.71 – Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations which is the transposition of the Birds Directive.
[iii] Subsidiary Legislation 504.94 – Legal Notice 221 of 2010, which allows a Derogation to open a Spring Hunting Season for Turtledove and Quail
[iv] The objections and replies are all concerned with matters of a legal nature, and the Constitutional Court is to make a final decision on whether an abrogative referendum to be held on S.L. 504.94, can be held.
[v] The Constitutional Court comprises The Judges ordinarily sitting in the Constitutional Court with the Chief Justice his Hon. Silvio Camilleri, are the Hon. Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo and the Hon. Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri. In 2009 Chief Justice Hon. Silvio Camilleri, was the Attorney General who represented Malta at the European Court of Justice because of the failure of Malta to fulfil obligations about the Conservation of wild birds – Directive 79/409/EEC – Spring Hunting.