Maroš Šefčovič promises to deliver on animal welfare, but fails to commit to timeline

Maroš Šefčovič promises to deliver on animal welfare, but fails to commit to timeline

3 October 2023
News
During today’s hearing at the European Parliament, European Commission’s Executive Vice-President (EVP) Maroš Šefčovič, nominated to oversee the Green Deal, repeated that the animal welfare proposals remain a priority for the upcoming months, yet failed to provide a timeline for their publication.
A number of MEPs, including Tilly Metz (Greens/Efa), Emma Weisner (Renew), Beatrice Covassi (S&D/PD) and Herbert Dorfmann (EPP), specifically questioned the EVP-designate on the animal welfare proposals, reiterating the importance of sticking to the promised timeline and delivering by the end of the year, to honour the demands of millions of European citizens.
We are pleased that animal welfare has been mentioned among the priorities for the coming months. Yet, we are disappointed that no concrete action or timeline has been provided, despite the many requests made by MEPs of various groups. We want to reiterate the importance for the EU to fulfil its commitments under the "End the Cage Age" ECI, which gathered more than 1.4 million signatures. Further delaying the publication of the proposals to the next term would be a democratic failure. As President von der Leyen recently said during her SOTEU address ”If it matters to Europeans it matters to Europe”, and we could not agree more, now though, we need to see it happen for the millions of Europeans who’ve been asking the European Commission to improve the lives of billions of animals
Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals

The EC initially committed to deliver the proposals for a revised animal welfare legislation, as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy, by the end of this year. With the EC expected to finalise its working programme in the upcoming weeks, the timeline for publishing them within the current term is becoming increasingly tight. The EVP-designate mentioned several times the need for more assessments and dialogues to be carried out, even if the impact assessment on the legislation has been finalised and despite the numerous opportunities all stakeholders had to contribute over the past years.

During the hearing, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Šefčovič also mentioned that the EC is finalising the Transport Regulation proposal. Having a finally renewed text on transport would be much welcome, however, delivering only one of the four proposals won’t meet the millions of citizens' demands for better animal welfare. Indeed, the latest European Citizens' Initiatives End the Cage Age and Fur Free Europe which collected 1.4 and 1.5 million signatures respectively, show that Europeans demand better protection for animals now. Only updating the live transport rules would leave billions of animals at the mercy of outdated legislation.

The European Commission can still fulfil the promise it made in June 2021 to millions of citizens, and millions of animals, to go cage free by 2027, but now is the time to act.