European Commission Consultations

A consultation launched on 14 September 2017 by the Environment and Trade Departments of the European Commission aimed to compile information and views on the extent, structure and main features of legal and illegal trade in ivory in and from the EU, as well as on the priorities that the EU should follow in its approach against ivory trafficking. The consultation, which was open to contributions from ‘all citizens and organisations’, closed on 8 December 2017. The European Commission’s page on the public consultation on ivory trade in the EU contains a short factual summary as well as a brief synopsis report on the results of the consultation. It includes:

On 28 January 2019, following on from this consultation and a stakeholder meeting in 2017, the European Commission organised an informal meeting with stakeholders to exchange views on potential additional EU measures, namely tightening restrictions and streamlining current regulations on the trade in ivory within and from the EU. The informal meeting was attended by the EU’s Directorate-General for the Environment, CINOA (the international federation of art & antique dealer associations), representatives from wildlife conservation groups, trade bodies from Spain, France, Germany and the UK. The European Commission floated the idea of upgrading the proof needed for pre-1947 worked ivory, however conservation groups called for stricter rules, with some demanding a total ban.

The European Commission’s discussions with Member States began in February 2019. Hugo-Maria Schally of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment noted that any changes required to the legislation itself could take several years.

Further stakeholder meetings were held in late 2019 and late 2020. On these occasions, several NGOs and other stakeholders met with the European Commission and submitted further recommendations.

On 28 January 2021, the European Commission published a draft regulation and guidance to ban the EU trade in ivory, subject to limited exceptions. Both instruments were open for final public feedback until 25 February 2021 on the Commission’s ‘Have your say’ page. Although the UK is no longer part of the European Union, the draft regulations will impact not only trade between EU Member States but also between Member States and the UK. The effect of the new measures is to simplify and strengthen the current rules whilst permitting only limited exceptions. You can read more about the draft regulations and guidance in our blog post. A more detailed summary of the current regime and the proposed measures can be found in this guidance document produced by the Commission. We will post updates on the final regulation applicable in the EU when it is published.

Key related documents:

  • Recording of the European Commission Stakeholders’ meeting on CITES Ivory, 28 January 2019
  • The European Commission’s draft regulation and guidance to ban the EU trade in ivory, subject to limited exceptions.

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