Over the past three years, the Commission has on a number of occasions indicated the need for further measures to restrict ivory trade within, to and from the EU. In 2017, a public consultation on the issue received almost 90 000 responses, with 92 % of respondents favouring the closure of EU ivory markets.
Since then, a wide range of stakeholders has called on the Commission to address this issue, including Members of the European Parliament, African government members of the Elephant Protection Initiative and the African Elephant Coalition, several EU Member States, scientists, NGOs, private companies and religious and faith leaders.
Several countries have implemented or are in the process of implementing domestic bans or restrictions on ivory trade. However, to date, little progress has been made within the EU, which now has the largest legal domestic ivory market alongside Japan.
In the new EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030, the Commission included a commitment to propose a further tightening of the rules on the EU ivory trade later this year.
Italian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Eleonora Evi of the Non-attached Members, tabled a written question to the European Commission asking the Commission to explain “what concrete measures will the EU undertake in this sense?” and “to clarify the process and time frame for the adoption of these measures?”
On 23 November 2020, Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, responsible for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, responded to this question on behalf of the European Commission. He stated that the Commission “shares the concerns about the status of elephant populations and reaffirms its commitment to take additional action against poaching and ivory trafficking” and “has been consulting extensively with stakeholders and Member States authorities during the past two years on the tightening of ivory trade rules in the EU”.
“In accordance with the commitment in the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Commission intends to propose a further tightening of the rules on EU ivory trade in 2020”, answered Commissioner Sinkevicius.
Finally, he concluded that “the intention is to take action both on intra-EU trade and on re-export, to reduce as much as possible any risk of legal trade in ivory within and from the EU contributing to poaching and illegal trade”.
Photo Credit : https://www.ifaw.org/eu/news/eu-momentum-building-ngos-call-on-the-eu-to-close-its-ivory-market