Revision of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking


Wildlife trafficking is a lucrative criminal activity worth up to EUR 20 billion annually globally, with illegal trade growing due to being considered a low-risk, high-return activity. Despite having comprehensive legal protection for wildlife, the EU is an important market and transit platform for illegally traded wildlife. The EU has made efforts to raise awareness and fight wildlife trafficking with the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking in 2016, but demand for illegal wildlife products in the EU has not changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a decline in reported seizures, but it does not necessarily indicate a shift in demand or changes in illegal wildlife trade dynamics. The EU is also a source region for some endangered species, and not all illicit wildlife entering Europe is destined for European markets, with the EU often acting as a staging post.

Key points:

In the opinion, the EESC:   

  • is pleased with the Commission's commitment to allot financial and human resources from EU funds to address wildlife trafficking. However, it stresses the importance of determining the percentage of funds allocated to wildlife trafficking and monitoring and evaluating their execution at the national level;
  • highlights the significance of implementing effective and discouraging measures against wildlife trafficking, suggesting that the current level of sanctions proposed by the Council under the Environmental Crime Directive is insufficient and must be increased
  • recommends the establishment of consistent structures in all Member States, such as inter-agency committees, specialized units or staff trained to combat wildlife trafficking, and dedicated channels for communication and cooperation with social partners and civil society.

The full text of the opinion is available here.  


Additional information

Section: Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT)

Opinion number: NAT/874

Opinion type: Optional referral 

Rapporteur: Ozlem YILDIRIM (Workers - GR II / France)

Co-rapporteur: Cillian LOHAN (Civil society organisations' group / GR III / Ireland)

Reference: COM(2022) 707 final – 2022/0413 (CNS)

Date of adoption by section: 09/03/2023

Result of the vote: 56  in favour/ 0 against / 0 abstentions

Date of adoption in plenary: 26/03/2023

Result of the vote: 152 in favour/ 0 against / 1 abstention



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