Third strike for France over bird protection

Court condemns government for series of conservation failures in Marais Poitevin

France has been condemned in the European Court of justice for failure to comply with the 1979 EU directive on wild bird protection in the Marais Poitevin region on the country's Atlantic coast. Released on Thursday, the judgement is the third to go against France relating to the birds directive. In yet another case currently in the court, France is being sued by the Commission for failure to comply with the directive following a previous judgement and could face daily fines if it is found guilty once more. The government is also locked in dispute with the Commission over the length of the French bird hunting season, which the EU says fails to protect migratory species. In the Marais Poitevin case, the court found in the Commission's favour on each of the four complaints levelled against France, which were that it failed to classify enough of the Marais Poitevin as special protection areas (SPAs) under the directive, that it did not give enough legal protection to those SPAs that were classified, that it did not do enough to prevent ecological deterioration in the area, and that it was wrong to declassify part of one SPA in order to allow a motorway to be built.

Follow Up:
European Court of Justice, tel: +352 43031. References: The full judgement in case C-96/98 is posted on the court's web site

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