Ending poaching and trade in raw ivory
Is the Commission banning ivory exports?
The export of raw ivory is banned. The Commission guidance document recommends that EU Member States cease issuing export documents for raw ivory. Without an export document, no export of ivory can take place. Between 2013 and 2016, around 1900 old ivory tusks were exported legally from the EU to Asia, marking a sharp increase compared to previous years. Such exports will no longer be possible under the new guidance document.
The export of worked ivory will only be possible under very strict conditions. Only items acquired before 1976 can be exported and it is for the person wishing to export the items to demonstrate that they were acquired before that date. If such evidence cannot be provided by the applicant, then no export document will be delivered by the exporting EU Member State.
The legal export of worked ivory from the EU has also increased in recent years, reaching several thousand items annually. The most commonly exported products are small items made of ivory or containing ivory, musical instruments (especially pianos with ivory keys), carvings and antiques. The Commission guidance document recommends that EU Member States exercise a high level of scrutiny before authorising any export of worked ivory. It details, in particular, what type of evidence demonstrating the legality of the items can be accepted.
What are the international and EU rules on ivory trade?
International ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), with narrowly defined exemptions (for example for items acquired before elephants became protected under CITES).
EU rules on ivory trade are more restrictive than the CITES regime in many instances, notably as they regulate domestic trade in ivory, which is not required under CITES.
Can I import ivory into the EU? Can I purchase ivory goods and bring them in to the EU?
Import of ivory is prohibited, except for very narrow exemptions. Most of the ivory traded into the EU consists of hunting trophies and of old carvings or musical instruments imported as personal belongings (for example as part of a removal). These imports can only take place with the relevant export and import documents and are subject to very strict controls at the borders by customs agencies.
What is the EU doing against illegal ivory trade in the EU?
The Commission is fully committed to fight illegal ivory trade. Tackling ivory trafficking is a priority for the EU. Under the EU Action Plan against wildlife trafficking, the Commission, enforcement agencies in the Member States and Europol have stepped up action against ivory trafficking. This is already delivering first results. Member States seized more than 2.5 tonnes of ivory in 2016, the biggest volume in recent years. Most of this ivory was seized in the EU on its way to Asia.
Why is the EU not banning all intra-EU trade in ivory?
Intra-EU trade in ivory is limited and strictly regulated. Domestic ivory is authorised only for ivory items imported into the EU before elephant species obtained maximum protection under the CITES Convention (18 January 1990 for the African elephant and 1 July 1975 for the Asian elephant) and subject to strict controls. Domestic EU trade can only take place if a certificate has been issued to this effect by the relevant EU Member State, except for “worked items” acquired before 3 March 1947 – , which can be traded in the EU without a certificate.
Since the international ban on ivory trade came into effect, the demand for ivory in Europe has fallen considerably. Intra-EU trade consists mostly of antiques and EU Member States have not been identified as important destination markets for ivory of illegal origin. However, there have been some instances of illegal trade in ivory items within the EU, and there are differences between Member States in applying EU rules on ivory trade. Therefore, the new guidance document sets out criteria and recommendations for Member States to further strengthen vigilance and controls.
Latest News from
International migrant trafficking network dismantled15/11/2019 15:10:00
This week the national authorities in Germany (Federal Police Department) and Romania (Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism and National Police) took part in a simultaneous action against an organised criminal group trafficking migrants from the Middle East.
Article – New beginnings: reassessing EU-Turkey relations15/11/2019 13:20:00
Concerns over fundamental rights and action in Syria are leading to a rethink of EU-Turkey relations. What is the status of the cooperation? What are MEPs proposing?
MEPs condemn criminalisation of sex education in Poland15/11/2019 12:10:00
In a resolution put to the vote on Thursday, MEPs express their deep concern over a Polish draft law that could put teachers who provide sex education in prison.
Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms15/11/2019 11:10:00
MEPs on Thursday voted on measures specifying how large online platforms are to contribute to closing loopholes that hinder the collection of VAT.
Clean mobility: EC welcomes agreement on tyre labelling to save energy14/11/2019 15:10:00
A political agreement on a European tyre labelling has been reached between the European Parliament, the Council and the EC. The new rules improve and strengthen EU tyre labels enabling European consumers to make better choices and bringing energy savings equivalent to taking 4m cars off EU roads every year.
Opening ceremony of the 2019/2020 academic year at the College of Europe14/11/2019 13:20:00
Keynote speech given yesterday by President Donald Tusk
Wolfgang Schäuble: “Without European unification, there would be no German unity”14/11/2019 12:10:00
EP President David Sassoli and President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989.
Poultry welfare at slaughter: hazards identified, measures proposed14/11/2019 11:10:00
EFSA has proposed measures to address the animal welfare hazards most commonly observed during the slaughter of poultry for food production and disease control.
Brexit: Citizens' rights remain a key priority for MEPs13/11/2019 13:10:00
The Brexit Steering Group met on Tuesday 12 November with several committees to look at the part of the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens' rights.
Defence cooperation: Council launches 13 new PESCO projects13/11/2019 11:20:00
Five of the new projects focus on training, covering areas such as cyber, diving, tactical, medical as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRND) training. Other projects focus on enhancing EU collaborative actions as well as on capability development on sea, air and space.