The European Commission is collecting data on wolves and the impact of predation on livestock farming and on affected areas.
The data collected will help the European Commission to formulate a response to the European Parliament. In a resolution adopted in November 2022, Members of the European Parliament highlighted the vulnerability of certain areas, particularly mountainous areas, to predation. In particular, they called on the European Commission to assess the available scientific data and to standardise data collection across the EU.
As the data currently available on wolves is incomplete, the European Commission is inviting relevant stakeholders, including farming and pastoral organisations, nature parks, local and regional authorities and scientists, to submit their available data to EC-WOLF-DATA-COLLECTION@ec.europa.eu by 22 November 2023.
On the basis of the data collected, the European Commission may propose changes to European legislation, including the protection status of the wolf in the European Union. However, the Commission calls on the affected areas to make use of the existing derogations and points out that the current legislation is already helping to limit the risk of predation.
Euromontana welcomes the European Commission’s approach but regrets the lack of clarity and standardisation of the data requested. There is also no clear policy agenda linked to this initiative besides an answer to the European Parliament’s resolution, especially with only 9 months to go before the European elections. Nevertheless, Euromontana believes it is a good opportunity for mountain stakeholders to share their data and voice the challenges they are facing. Euromontana has long called for the harmonisation of census techniques in all European countries and the creation of a European database, available online, free of access for all citizens and regularly updated, in order to work on a comparable and solid basis. Some European initiatives are already underway, notably through the Horizon Europe programme, which will support the collection of data and best practices. However, Euromontana calls on the European Commission to also mobilise institutional resources in this respect.
Beyond predation, the continuation of pastoralism in mountain areas calls for real political support for this traditional type of extensive farming. Faced with land abandonment, climate change and a lack of recognition of the role of pastoralism in food supply and ecosystem conservation, Euromontana calls on the EU to adopt an ambitious Action Plan for Pastoralism.13 September 2023