EEL News Service 2004/21, 25 November 2004


* The Kyoto Protocol on climate change will come into force on 16 February, after Russia handed over its instrument of ratification on 18 November 2004, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
With Russian ratification the criteria for the Protocol to go into place – 55 countries representing 55% of the world’s greenhouse emissions – have been fulfilled.

Added to the Case law page:

* C-457/02 Niselli
ECJ 11 November 2004, nyr, not yet available in English
The European court of justice said in a preliminary ruling that an Italian decree excluding certain industrial by-products from waste regulations breaches EU law. The Court thus reaffirmed previous case law, stating that the materials which are generated by a production process and can be reused in a subsequent production cycle, without pre-treatment and without causing damage to the environment, shall not automatically “escape” being classified as waste. The new ruling is largely a reprise of principles established by the court through waste definition cases involving Finland (Palin granit and Avesta Polarit Chrome), the UK (Mayer Parry) and the Netherlands (Arco).

* C-420/02 Commission v Greece
ECJ 18 November 2004, nyr
Greece was found guilty of failing to deal with an illegal waste dump in Heraklion, thus breaching the Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, as amended by Directive 91/156/EEC.

* C-422/03 Commission v Netherlands
ECJ 18 November 2004, nyr, not yet available in English
The ECJ found the Netherlands guilty of failing to transpose the EU recently-revised framework rules on GMO releases and thus breaching Directives 2001/18/EC and 90/220/EEC.

* C-78/04 Commission v Austria
ECJ 18 November 2004, nyr, not yet available in English
The ECJ ruled against Austria for incomplete implementation of the Directive 96/61/EC on integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC).

* C-317/02 Commission v Ireland
ECJ 18 November 2004, nyr
Ireland was condemned for not following EU fish quota rules and failing to fulfil its obligations arising from Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 establishing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture and Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy.

* C-79/04 Commission v Luxembourg
ECJ 18 November 2004, nyr, not yet available in English
The ECJ found Luxembourg guilty for a minor breach of energy labeling rules for electric ovens, following from Directive 92/75/EEC.

* T-176/01 Ferriere Nord v Commission
CFI 18 November 2004, nyr
Italian steelmaker Ferriere lost its appeal against a European Commission decision to block government subsidies towards the replacement of an old manufacturing plant. The firm had argued that the aid was justified on environmental protection grounds, to reduce pollution and noise emissions. But the package was rejected after UK steel producers complained it had a “manifestly economic purpose”.

* C-304/02 Commission v France
Opinion of 18 November 2004
Under the EU Treaty member states face financial sanction once the court finds them guilty a second time of the same breach of law. According to treaty article 228 the court must then impose “a lump sum or penalty payment”. Advocate General Leendert Geelhoed says the deterrent effect of these payments is too weak. Member states can continue to break the rules until a second judgment and then avoid heavy financial sanction by complying quickly. Advocate General has launched a daring campaign to significantly increase the scope of sanctions that can be imposed on member states persistently flouting the EU legislation. If successful, the new sanctions regime may soon be applied to infringements of environmental legislation.

* Moreno Gómez v. Spain (application no. 4143/02)
ECHR 16 November 2004, not yet published
The European court of human rights has for the first time ruled against a signatory country for violating rights by failing to take action to protect a claimant from noise pollution. The claimant from Spain was awarded €3,884 damages for violation of her rights under Article 8 of the European convention on human rights (right to respect for private life and home) after suffering noise from bars and discos near her home over a 25-year period. Excessive noise has never previously been found to be the cause of a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

Added to Conferences page and upcoming conferences:

* 1-2 December 2004, Well & Pipeline Abandonment, Calgary, Canada

* 5-8 December 2004, International mechanical engineering conference, Kuwait City, Kuwait

* 5-8 December 2004, Palestinian and Israeli Environmental Narratives, Toronto, Canada

Added to Treaties page:

* Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (Stockholm Convention 2004)

By ratifying the convention, EU gave it new powers to further pursue abolition of toxic chemicals.

Added to Legislation page, Directives:

* Parliament and Council Directive 2004/101/EC of 27 October 2004 amending Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community, in respect of the Kyoto Protocol’s project mechanisms
The so-called “linking directive” will allow firms involved in the EU emission trading scheme to gain extra carbon credits by funding abatement projects outside the EU. Firms cannot gain credits by funding nuclear or sinks projects and investments in hydropower plants bigger than 20 megawatts must comply with guidelines from the World Commission on Dams. There is no EU-wide limit on the number of extra credits firms can gain, but authorities must set national limits, in the form of a percentage of the number of allowances allocated centrally by governments.

Added to Legislation page, Decisions:

* Decision 2004/781/EC amending Decision 1999/815/EC concerning measures prohibiting the placing on the market of toys and childcare articles intended to be placed in the mouth by children under three years of age made of soft PVC containing certain phthalates
An emergency EU ban on phthalates in toys designed for sucking by under three year old has been renewed for the last time and is valid until September 2005. Meanwhile a more wide-ranging permanent ban has be finalized.

Added to Dossiers page:

Update European Climate Policy Dossier, by Leonardo Massai

* Kyoto Protocol enters into force on 16 February 2005, “linking” directive 2004/101/EC finally published in the EU official journal and eight more national allocation plans approved by the Commission within the framework of directive 2003/87/EC.



Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)

Jens Hamer (Academy of European Law, Trier)


Daria Ratsiborinskaya (Institute of European law, MGIMO, Moscow)

Pamela van der Goot (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)

Technical realisation:

Marco van der Harst, Julien J.M. Simon

(T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)