Members of the European Parliament’s recently re-established Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside Intergroup convened for the first time on February 13. The meeting was an important step in laying the foundation for the Intergroup’s agenda during the current parliamentary term. The Intergroup is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the European Union’s Biodiversity Strategy and reforming agricultural policies that could impact hunting across the continent. Safari Club International (SCI) actively influenced the re-establishment by sending to staff to Brussels to lobby Parliament on the issue.
The primary order of business for the first meeting was electing the President and Vice Presidents. Alvaro Amaro from Portugal was elected and approved as President of the group. “I accepted to lead the team that worked to re-establish the Intergroup, which consists of 10 members in total, from 10 different Member States and 5 different political groups comprising of 5 men and 5 women,” said Amaro in an official press release. “This provides a wide geographical and ideological scope as well as a perfect gender balance!”
“With more than 130 supporting Members of Parliament from all major political groups, the Intergroup is an active stakeholder platform within the European Parliament, enabling open discussions between decision-makers, the European Commission and experts, aiming to affirm the crucial role of rural actors and the socio-economic importance of hunting and countryside activities,” added Amaro.
The Intergroup also elected several representatives to serve as Vice-Presidents as well, including Simone Schmeidtbauer (Austria), Alex Agius Salib (Malta), Elsi Kateinen (Finland), Marco Dreosto (Italy), Andżelika Możdżanowska (Poland), Carmen Avram (Romania), Jérémy Decerle (France), Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez (Spain), and Annie Schreijer-Pierik (Netherlands).
Originally established in 1985, the Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside Intergroup serves as a platform for members of the European Parliament to engage with stakeholders and citizens to discuss and affirm the crucial role that rural communities play in conservation and the cultural and financial importance of hunting across Europe.
The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) has served as the official secretariat of the Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside Intergroup since its inception in 1985. As a long-time associate member, SCI works closely with FACE to monitor issues of importance to our European members.
SCI recently strengthened our engagement on European issues by amending SCI bylaws to establish a European Committee and by bringing aboard Pedro Vitorino to serve as SCI’s Member Services Specialist in Europe. Pedro will be an important connection for our European members, and he will be will work closely with FACE and the Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside Intergroup moving forward.