The issue relating to the ban on fur imports from countries using legholds remained unresolved (see Yearbook 1995, p. 568). At the beginning of 1996, the Commission proposed an amendment to Regulation 3254/91 that would have authorized negotiations with third countries to reach a solution. By year-end, these negotiations had still not been brought to a successful conclusion.
The Netherlands began applying a ban on imports as of 1996, while other member states continued to take a wait-and-see attitude. At the same time, the ECJ rejected a request by an English importer of animals captured with legholds to defer the Regulation's application. The Court stated that the importer was aware of the possibility that such imports might become impermissible as of 1996, when the Regulation was adopted in 1991 (Case T 228/95 of 12 February).
[Editors' Note: Since this is a first report on this organization, the present entry includes materials that predate 1996.]
The Indian Ocean Commission ("Commission de l'Océan Indien") is a regional governmental organisation of which the Comores, France/Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the Seychelles are members. The organisation was founded by Madagascar, Mauritius, and the Seychelles ( General Treaty of Cooperation Between the Member States of the Indian Ocean Commission, Treaty of Victoria of 10 January 1984). The Comores and France/Réunion joined in 1986 (Protocols of 7 January 1986).
Article 1 of the Treaty calls for cooperation in, inter alia, the fields of agriculture, marine fisheries, and the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems. In 1996, as indeed during the first decade of the Commission's existence as a whole, environmental protection, trade, tourism, meteorology, as well as fisheries were areas covered by comprehensive cooperative programmes, all of them funded by the European Union. In carrying out its functions, the Commission may adopt "implementation protocols" and take decisions that are binding on member states. The Commission may also adopt resolutions, declarations, recommendations and statements to achieve its objectives and to ensure the implementation of the Treaty and its Protocols (Article 9, para. 2 Treaty of Victoria).