This section describes implementation of CITES in the European Union (EU), links to the current EU regulations, describes the differences between CITES and EU controls and describes the relevant national Irish legislation.
How is CITES implemented in the EU?
The CITES Convention is legally binding, however national legislation is required to implement its provisions. In the EU, CITES is implemented through Regulations known as the Wildlife Trade Regulations which provide the necessary legal framework for the enforcement of the Convention. These regulations are directly applicable in all EU Member States. The provisions of CITES have been implemented under European Community-wide regulations since 1984, due to a single European market and the absence of internal border controls.
Current EU Regulations
The current regulations are:
- Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (the Basic Regulation)
- Commission Regulation (EC) No. 865/2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 (the Implementing Regulation).
Differences between EU controls and CITES
The species controlled under the EU Regulations are listed in Regulation (EC) No.318/08 in four Annexes, A-D. Annexes A-C generally relate to CITES Appendices I-III, with Annex A being equivalent to Appendix I, for example. However, the EU Annexes are more strict than CITES itself. For example, a species may be listed on CITES Appendix II, but listed on EU Annex A. Annex D includes non-CITES species for which the EC monitors import levels. A general comparison of the CITES Appendices and EU Annexes can be found on the Europa website or within a Reference Guide to the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations.
In Ireland, the Wildlife Act, 1976 and the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000 form the main primary legislation for protection of Irish wildlife, and these Acts implement various European obligations including the Wildlife Trade Regulations. They lay out the terms and conditions for possession, use and trade in protected species that are native to Ireland, but also those that are non-native species listed under the EU Regulations implementing CITES.