The European directives

The European authorities are very concerned about the possibility that the grey squirrel can colonize much of Europe, putting at risk the survival of the red squirrel.

For this reason, the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention (the Convention which aims to ensure the conservation of flora and fauna species and their natural habitats in Europe) has repeatedly sent recommendations to our country, asking Italy to take prompt actions to remove the grey squirrel. In particular the Standing Committee has produced the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 78/1999 on asking Italy for the eradication of the grey squirrel to protect the red squirrel;
  • Recommendation 114/2005 in asking Italy for the eradication of the population along the Ticino and the development of appropriate techniques to control the grey squirrel;
  • Recommendation 123/2007 in asking Italy for the eradication of the population along the Ticino and new populations and the ban of trade in the species.


Unfortunately, Italy has not been able to address and resolve the problem. For this reason, in November 2008, the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention has opened a "case file", a sort of infringement proceedings against Italy for failing to act in limiting the spread of the grey squirrel.

The LIFE Red Squirrel project wants to give answer to the demands of Europe, tackling the problem in a coordinated manner across the different regions to arrive at an effective limitation of the spread of the grey squirrel.