EU Seal Trade Ban Likely to Survive Inuit Appeal

     (CN) – The Inuit cannot challenge the European Union’s ban on the seal products trade, an adviser to the EU’s high court said Thursday.
     EU lawmakers drew ire from the indigenous ethnic group when they passed a ban in 2009 on seal products in the marketplace.
     The ban excludes the import and sale of seal products that result from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit and other indigenous communities and contribute to their subsistence.
     The Inuit live primarily in the arctic and subarctic regions of central and northeastern Canada, in Alaska, in Greenland and in parts of Russia.
     Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a body representing the interests of the Canadian Inuit, joined with producers of or traders in seal products to annul the ban.
     They claimed to have standing under an amendment introduced by the Lisbon Treaty that gives people the right to file annulment actions against a “regulatory act which is of direct concern to them and does not entail implementing measures.”
     In 2011, however, the General Court of the European Union found that this amendment did not apply to legislative acts such as the ban on seal products.
     Advocate General Juliane Kokott recommended Thursday that the Court of Justice dismiss the pending appeal.
     All in all, the General Court therefore interpreted the expression ‘regulatory act’ perfectly correctly as covering all European Union acts of general application other than legislative acts,” Kokott wrote.
     “Contrary to the view taken by the appellants, the interpretation and application of [European law] by the General Court in the present case certainly does not mean that the standing of natural and legal persons to institute proceedings against regulatory acts is redundant and the raison d’être of the new possibility introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon is thus negated,” she added. “Rather, the appellants’ arguments themselves have serious deficiencies based, first, on an incorrect reading of the order under appeal and, second, on a fundamental misunderstanding of the acts and procedures provided for in the treaties.”

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