European Court of Justice: landmark decision Habitats directive

In a landmark decision, the European Court of Justice has ruled that wolves in the European Union cannot be hunted and killed unless Member States have proved that there is no viable alternative to lethal wolf population management.

Case C-674/17 was brought by Finnish nature organisations following a decision by the Finnish authorities to allow seven wolves to be killed to prevent nuisance and poaching. The goal of the legal action was to provide clarification on under what circumstances derogations to the EU Habitats Directive could be granted with respect to the killing of wolves for population management purposes.

According to Article 16 of Council Directive 92/43/EEC (the EU Habitats Directive), derogations can be triggered by Member States to allow management control at the national level provided there is “no satisfactory alternative and the derogation is not harmful to the maintenance of the populations of the species concerned.”

Vide the decision (in French):;jsessionid=6F5150540CA001B64B64478EF7708266?text=&docid=218935&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=3008587