EU commissioner may go to court vs Sweden wolf hunt

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The European Union commissioner responsible for the environment said Monday he would seek to start legal action against Sweden for allowing the hunting of wolves after the season began at the weekend.

Commissioner Janez Potocnik says Sweden is breaking European Union law by allowing the hunting of a species threatened with extinction on its territory. Sweden says the hunt is part of a sensible wildlife management policy.

“The actions of the Swedish authorities leave me little choice but to propose to the European Commission the start of a formal procedure against Sweden for breaking EU environmental legislation,” Janez Potocnik said in a statement.

He said he would propose to the other 26 commissioners that the EU executive launch legal action against Sweden.

The Nordic country has allowed the killing of 20 wolves in this year’s hunt out of a total wolf population of 200.

Finland has also in the past run into trouble from the European Commission for allowing wolf hunting, but won a partial court victory over the EU executive in 2007.

Reporting by Patrick Lannin; editing by Mark Heinrich