French green groups have welcomed a European court of justice ruling delivered on Thursday imposing strict conditions before a government can allow derogations from a general ban on hunting birds during close seasons required by the EU 1979 wild birds directive. The case was referred by France's council of state, which was considering a challenge to national rules brought by environmentalists.
The judgement is kinder to the French government and national hunting organisations in a key respect than earlier appeared likely. This is that it has allowed that derogations can in principle be acceptable, contradicting a recommendation that they should not by the court's advocate general in the case.
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