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Finland pursues change to conservation status of wolf – strong support to Commission’s proposal

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Publication date 19.1.2024 7.38 | Published in English on 19.1.2024 at 15.39
Press release

The European Commission published the conclusions of the assessment of the need for protection of the wolf population in December. The Commission proposes that the conservation status should be downgraded. Finland will bring this matter to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 23 January.

The agenda (AOB) of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council includes a note concerning large carnivores, prepared by Finland. With this note, Finland wishes to support the Commission’s initiative to change the wolf’s status under the Bern Convention from ‘strictly protected’ (Annex II) to ‘protected’ (Annex III), and urges to make the same changes to the annexes of the Habitats Directive.

The reason for the proposed change in the conservation status is the positive development of the wolf population. The wolf population in Europe has strengthened and expanded to new areas. Finland’s note is supported by Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

Finland points out that, besides wolf, there are other large carnivore populations that have increased and are in a favourable conservation status. In Finland the brown bear and lynx populations have grown manifold during the EU membership and their conservation status has been favourable for many years. Yet, the practices concerning derogations have been further tightened in recent years. Changing the conservation status of brown bear is particularly important to control the population and ensure that bears will not lose fear of humans.

“Commission’s initiative to change the conservation status of wolf is most welcome and we fully support it. The annexes to the Habitats Directive have not been updated since Finland joined the EU in 1995, even if the large carnivore populations have grown considerably. Various Finnish stakeholders responded to the Commission’s inquiry concerning the wolf situation, which helped to convince the Commission of the need for this change. Now we will continue to pursue the matter in the Council,” says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah.

Agriculture and Fisheries Council convenes in Brussels under Belgian Presidency

The EU agriculture ministers will convene in Brussels on 23 January 2024 at the first Agriculture and Fisheries Council during the Belgian Presidency. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah will represent Finland at the meeting.

Agriculture and Fisheries Council will also discuss the proposal for a Regulation on a monitoring framework for European forests. 

In addition, the Council will discuss the initiative of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen concerning a strategic dialogue on the future of agriculture in the EU.

The Council will also receive information from the Commission and exchange views on international trade of agricultural products.



Iina Mattila, Special Adviser,, tel. +358 50 473 6221 
Sami Niemi, Senior Specialist,, p. +358 29 516 2391

Link: Note from the Finnish delegation (AOB): The re-evaluation of the Annexes of Habitats Directive as regards certain Large Carnivore Populations

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