EEL News Service 2008/12, 19 June 2008

Added to Case Law, ECJ
C-121/07, Commission vs. France
AG Opinion 05-06-2008
Advocate General Ján Mazák advised against the European Commission’s request to impose at least 46m euro lump-sum fine on France. The Commission based its request on grounds of France’s non-compliance with the ECJ judgment in case C?/03, which condemned the country for failing to transpose Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms. Nonetheless, AG Mazák pointed out that a lump sum fine would be exaggerated considering of the seriousness of the breach: he said that this should only be imposed when there are “additional aggravating circumstances”, for example when a “fundamental principle” of the EU is being compromised. The AG agreed with the imposition of daily fines, although he suggested a lower sum than what the Commission had proposed.
Sector: Dangerous substances

C-170/07, Commission vs. Poland
ECJ 05-06-2008
Poland was condemned for the breaching of competition rules, when it imposed technical inspections on all second-hand cars imported from other EU member states. The ECJ did not accept the main argument of Poland’s defence, namely the necessity of these inspections in order to ensure that imported cars are environmentally clean and safe.
Sector: General

Added to Sectors, General
* 18-month draft Presidency agenda
On 9 June 2008 a draft programme of the next three EU Presidencies – France, Czech Republic and Sweden – was presented in a joint document. In the field of the environment, the Presidencies expressed their commitment to advance work on biodiversity, including the promotion of environmental technologies. Actions in the sectors of chemicals and air pollution were particularly stressed: the Presidencies will focus on further implementation of the REACH Regulation and on revision of the Directives on waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) and on the limitation of the use of certain hazardous substances in electric and electronic equipment (RoHs). The Presidencies also expressed their hope to finish work on the revision of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive and on the proposal for a Directive on industrial emissions (including revision of related other Directives). In addition, particular attention will be paid to work on the soil protection framework Directive, to GMO issues and the revision of the SEVESO Directive.

* Green infringement cases against three Member States
The European Commission presented its latest round of infringement procedures against Member States in the field of environment on 5 June 2008. Italy received another waste-related first written warning under Article 228, as according to the Commission it failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment of a the waste incinerator at Massafra, in the Puglia region, as required by  Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (EIA Directive). The Commission also sent Italy two final written warnings under Article 226. One case concerns a water abstraction project on the river Trebbia in the Emilia-Romagna region, which endangers the ‘Basso Trebbia’ site, designated as Site of Community Importa