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A EU Strategy: what does it mean ?

Article 288 of the Lisbon Treaty TFEU is drawing a list of official acts of the EU. These are regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions. The legal effect of these acts is planned by Article 288 TFEU, according to the designation of the act.

In parallel, EU institutions can adopt non-official acts which have no legal effect, but only a political value. For example, the EU Commission can adopt roadmaps, views, declarations, strategies, action plans etc. These acts have to be understood as a political will of the EU Commission, and especially for the Animal Welfare Strategy as a political will of DG SANCO, to strenghten animal welfare in a global way
This means that if the EU Commission (or another institution) does not respect the Strategy, no complaint in front of the European Court of Justice could be filed.

Is a Strategy the same like an Action Plan?

Even if both are non-official acts, a Strategy appears less detailed and less involving for the EU Commission than an Action plan. Indeed, contrary to the previous Animal Welfare Action Plan, the new Animal Welfare Strategy provides no exact deadlines or accurates actions.

What changes does the new Animal Welfare Strategy bring compared to the old Action Plan ?

The EU Commission draws a list of what is not working accurently in the EU Animal Welfare framework, and of what has not worked with the old Action Plan:

  1. Lack of enforcement of EU legislation by the Member States is still common in a number of areas
  2. Consumers' lack of appropriate information on animal welfare aspects
  3. Many stakeholders lack sufficient knowledge about animal welfare
  4. A need to simplify and develop clear principles for animal welfare

The New Strategy aims to fill out these blanks.

Moreover, for the first time, companion animals, including cats and dogs, and the principle of responsible ownership is mentionned (please, see for more explanation on this key principle) . 

In addition, Animal Welfare is recognised as a technical issue, a societal concern and a consumer concern.

What will the new Animal Welfare Strategy do for animals ?

The EU Commission will focus on five main points:

  1. Develop a simplified EU legal framework for animal welfare and respective guidelines, who are based on scientific indicators
  2. Strengthen the enforcement of animal welfare law
  3. Implement binding educational measures related to animal welfare
  4. Establish the already announced EU network of centres of references with information for all target groups
  5. Intend to multiply animal welfare conditions in international and bilateral agreements and in the neighbourhood policy of the EU