The European Commission has told Cyprus that it is ready to enforce the Birds Directive if the new hunting law is judged not compliant, Enrico Brivio, EC spokesman, told CNA on Monday.
In a follow up to the adoption of new legislation on Friday, Brivio told CNA that “the commission is closely following the issue of the protection of birds in Cyprus”.
“Any changes to the current legislation,” he said “will have to be notified by the Cypriot authorities”.
“The commission will then verify whether the law effectively complies with the strict conditions under the Birds Directive concerning non-huntable species,” he explained.
“Should an issue of non-conformity arise the commission will take the necessary steps to ensure that the situation is rectified.”
The House plenum voted on Friday for a controversial government bill on the protection of wild birds and game which critics say effectively decriminalises hunting with lime-sticks – branches covered in sap that the birds stick to.
One provision, distinguishes between bird-trapping with limesticks and mist nets, imposing lighter fines for the sticks. During the House plenum discussion of the bill, an MP argued that lime-sticks are a legal means of protecting grape vines against birds that damage them.
The government said the new laws will tackle poaching and protect the songbirds that are hunted and eaten as a delicacy.
The new law includes harsh penalties for offenders, including fines up to €20,000, imprisonment up to three years, or both.