This is from our local English news paper...... (http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles...nters-proposal)
Brussels shoots down hunters' proposalCrucial decision on spring hunting on Wednesday
Ivan Camilleri in Brussels
The EU executive has rejected Maltese hunters' latest proposal and made it clear that there is no valid reason for spring hunting to continue, a spokesman for the European Com-mission told The Sunday Times.
Sources yesterday said that the Commission will on Wednesday meet to discuss whether Malta should be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the issue.
"We have been warning Malta since its accession to the EU and the time has come to take drastic action. We expect that in less than a year the ECJ will be in a position to give a ruling. The court might also consider imposing interim measures until a final ruling is made," the sources said.
Malta is the only EU country which still permits spring hunting and the Commission has warned on a number of occasions that it will take the issue to court if the Government continues to allow the practice to take place.
The hunters' federation is arguing that the spring season should open by virtue of an exemption - known as a derogation - permitted under the EU's Birds Directive. However, the spokesman said this does not apply as hunters in Malta can already practise their hobby during the autumn season.
In a final gamble to 'save' Malta's spring hunting season, the FKNK last week said that in collaboration with European hunting organisation FACE, it had drawn up a position document "in order to allow the Maltese authorities to grant a derogation for hunting only quail and turtledove during part of the pre-nuptial migration, in small numbers and under strictly supervised conditions, by taking into account the particular bio-geogra-phical and socio-cultural situation of Malta".
However, the Commission reiterated on Friday that this is not possible and spring hunting in Malta has to stop once and for all.
"Spring hunting - that is hunting of migratory birds on their return to their rearing grounds - is prohibited under Article 7 of the Birds Directive. A derogation from that general prohibition is provided for under Article 9, which states that a fundamental condition that must be met before a derogation can be permitted is the requirement that no other satisfactory solution is available," the spokesman explained.
The latest issue raised by the federation has already been addressed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in an almost identical case to Malta's, he added.
The ECJ has looked at this matter and concluded that another satisfactory solution is available where it is possible to hunt at another time of year - during autumn - even if a smaller numbers of birds are available then (Case C-344/03 - Commission vs Finland).
"Following this approach by the court, where a derogation concerns 'small numbers... under strictly supervised conditions' another satisfactory solution exists."
The Government has always maintained it is ready to defend its position before the ECJ, while also declaring that it will respect the court's decision. The Government has not yet decided whether to open the next spring hunting season in March.
Environment Minister George Pullicino last week said that he will wait for the opinion of the Ornis Committee before taking a final decision. Sources yesterday told The Sunday Times that the Government will not be making any move until it knows the outcome of the Commission's decision on Wednesday.
Hope for the best........fingers crossed