Is the Swedish Brown Bear Management in Compliance with EU Biodiversity Law?

In: Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law
Anna Christiernsson Faculty of Law, Stockholm University,

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As with many biodiversity laws, the Habitats Directive allows for exemptions. While it can be argued that flexibility is necessary for handling dynamic ecosystems, the associated lack of legal clarity on the room to derogate can risk impairing both the effectiveness and the uniform application of EU-law. This study aims at clarifying the conditions to derogate from the strict protection of species under Article 16(1)(e), a provision which has been interpreted to provide a legal basis for hunting species with a favourable conservation status in several Member States. One such controversial case is the hunting of brown bears in Sweden. The Swedish brown bear management will thus be used as an illustrative example to discuss Member States’ discretion to derogate under Article 16(1)(e).

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