Ban on seal products – why is this something that needs to be decided at EU level?

8 November, 2009

Canada has filed an official complaint at the World Trade Organisation against a European Union ban on imported seal products, saying it violated trade rules. Foreign ministers in Brussels adopted in July a ban on seal products from Canada, ruling the goods could not be marketed in the 27 EU nations. In a letter sent to the European Union and the WTO, Canada said the move was inconsistent with the EU’s obligations under international trade rules.

Now I’m not necessarily in favour of allowing seal products be sold in Ireland.  Frankly I don’t know enough about Canadian seals, how they are killed and processed, the Inuits who depend on them for a living, whether seals are an endangered species, or any of the other issues relevant to deciding on this particular matter.

But I am puzzled as to why this was decided in Brussels and not separately in Dublin, London, Paris etc etc. 

When was this debated in the Dáil? I don’t believe the threat of cross-border smuggling of seal products is sufficient reason to justify action at EU level in this. 

The principle of Subsidiarity, which is supposed to be observed by Brussels, would suggest that the EU allow such products to be imported, and that each member state would then decide whether there should be a ban on their sale in the relevant jurisdiction.  Again and again we see the EU, which is in general something I strongly support, handing ammunition to its Eurosceptics enemies by abusing its power, ignoring Subsidiarity, and legislating in areas that should not be its concern.


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