We publish below an official statement we received from the AFEMS Secretariat, the Association of European Manufacturers of Sporting Ammunition:
“The ENVI Committee met today (editor’s note: yesterday) and voted on the motion for resolution objecting the adoption of the European Commission’s proposal to restrict the use of lead gunshots over Wetlands, presented by the EPP, Renew and ECR political groups and supported by ID. The discussion among the political groups was followed by a short intervention from the competent European Commission’s representative.
The general concerns and arguments formulated and put forward by the EU associations, coordinated under the AFIS platform (AFEMS, FACE, IEACS and SAAMI) with the support of the sport shooting sector, were broadly supported by several MEPs.
Within the Environment Committee (ENVI), which is made up of 81 MEPs, 41 votes were needed to pass the resolution: following the votes this morning, the motion for a resolution was rejected by the ENVI Committee with 42 votes against and 33 in favour (4 abstentions). (Link to the voting sheet)
For the record, the challenge was significant and complex, given that a parliamentary committee rarely obtains the necessary consents to send a proposal for a regulation back to the European Commission.
It should be pointed out that the substantial activities carried out, such as the submission of parliamentary questions, written questions to the EC, the draft of technical notes and the other activities carried out so far have, in any case, had the effect of obtaining written replies from the European Commission which have clarified and reduced the impact of the proposal, which will be very useful for a correct and balanced transposition of the regulation at national level (that will be followed through the national associations).
The result of the vote did not reward the extensive lobbying activity carried out at 360 degrees for months, with the European coordination lead by the AFIS platform, which took place at the level of the individual member states. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the EU network and the associations that worked cohesively, in order to bring a credible and common motion.
The next votes are scheduled for the plenary session of the European Parliament which will take place between 11th and 12th November, which might confirm the position of the ENVI Committee."
Contextualizing the decision about banning lead ammo in wetlands
Nevertheless, last week's efforts by hunters', shooters' and industry lobbies have not been in vain on this issue. That's because the submission of parliamentary questions and written questions to the EU has led to written answers from the European Commission. These replies have further clarified the implications of the proposal, which will be very useful for a more balanced implementation of the regulation at national level
Of particular interest is a change in the EU's position on the application of the wetland definition. This was the main source of concern in the discussion. The EU has indicated in two recent parliamentary questions that the Member States are free to give indications on how the definition of wetlands set out in the Regulation proposal and the boundaries of wetlands can be correctly interpreted in line with the objectives of the proposal itself (protection of waterfowl) and the principle of proportionality. There is still a long way to go, but there are opportunities to ensure that the EU does not overshoot the target completely.
The European Parliament is expected to make a final vote on the proposal in November 2020.