Added to Case Law, ECJ
The European Court of Justice declared that, by authorising the opening of a hunting season for quails and turtle doves during the spring migration period in the years 2004 to 2007, without complying with the conditions for a derogation laid down in the Wild Birds Directive, Malta has failed to fulfil its obligations under that Directive. The Wild Birds Directive provides that certain species of birds may be hunted. Member States are to ensure that the practice of hunting complies with the principles of wise use and ecologically balanced control of the species of birds concerned. In particular, migratory species are not to be hunted during their return to their rearing grounds. Derogation from those rules is permitted where there is no other satisfactory solution. In the present case, the Court considered that opening a spring hunting season, during quails and turtle doves are returning to their rearing grounds, which results in a mortality rate three times higher (around 15 000 birds killed) for quails and eight times higher (around 32 000 birds killed) for turtle doves than for the autumn hunting season, does not constitute an adequate solution that is strictly proportionate to the Directive’s objective of conservation of the species.
Sector: Nature and Agriculture
The European Court of Justice declared that, by failing to draw up and adopt within a reasonable period a hazardous-waste management plan that accords with the requirements of the relevant Community legislation, and by failing to establish an integrated and adequate network of disposal installations for hazardous waste that enables such waste to be disposed of by means of the most appropriate methods in order to ensure a high level of protection for the environment and public health, Greece has failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 1(2) and 6 of Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste, in conjunction with Articles 5(1) and (2) and 7(1) of Directive 2006/12/EC on waste. Additionally, the Court condemned Greece for failure to take all the necessary measures to ensure, as regards the management of hazardous waste, compliance with Articles 4 and 8 of Directive 2006/12/EC on waste and Articles 3(1), 6, 7, 8, 9, 13 and 14 of Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste.
The European Court of Justice condemned Belgium for the failure to fulfil its obligations under Article 28 EC first, by making the import, keeping and sale of specimens of birds born and bred in captivity that were brought to the market legally in other Member States subject to restrictive conditions that require the market participants concerned to alter the marking of the birds so as to comply with the special Belgian requirements and secondly, by failing to recognise the marking recognised in other Member States or the certificates issued for this purpose under Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein. In addition, Belgium has been condemned for the failure to fulfil its obligations under Article 28 EC by denying traders the possibility to receive exemptions from the prohibition to keep indigenous European birds which were legally marked in other Member States. The Court ruled that those measures constitute measures having equivalent effect to quantitative restrictions and are therefore, as a matter of principle, prohibited under Article 28 EC.
Sector: Nature and Agriculture
In response to a reference for a preliminary ruling concerning the procurement procedure in respect of the public service for the distribution of drinking water and the disposal of sewage, the European Court of Justice ruled that, in relation to a contract for the supply of services, the fact that the supplier does not receive consideration directly from the contracting authority, but is entitled to collect payment under private law from third parties, is sufficient for that contract to be categorised as a ‘service concession’ within the meaning of Article 1(3)(b) of Directive 2004/17, where the supplier assumes all, or at least a significant share, of the operating risk faced by the contracting authority, even if that risk is, from the outset, very limited on account of the detailed rules of public law governing that service.
The reference for a preliminary ruling was made in the course of proceedings between the biodiesel firm Plantanol and German custom authorities concerning payment of energy tax. The European Court of Justice ruled that Article 3 of Directive 2003/30/EC on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport must be interpreted as meaning that it does not preclude national rules which exclude, from the tax exemption scheme provided for in those rules for biofuels, a product, which is composed of a blend of vegetable oil, fossil gas oil and specific additives. The Court added that the general principles of legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations do not in principle preclude a Member State, with regard to a product such as the one at issue in the main proceedings, from withdrawing, before the expiry date initially laid down in the national rules, a tax exemption scheme which applied to such products. However, it is for the national court to consider, in the context of an overall assessment in the specific case, whether those principles have been respected in the main proceedings by taking account of all relevant circumstances relating to the case.
AG Opinion 17-09-2009
In this reference for a preliminary ruling, the Commissione Tributaria Provinciale di Roma seeks guidance on whether certain provisions of Italy’s national law are compatible with Articles 12, 14, 43 and 46 EC, the Landfill Directive and Directive 2000/35/EC on combating late payment in commercial transactions. Advocate General Sharpston advised the Court to interpret Article 10 of the Landfill Directive as precluding national provisions such as Article 3(26) and (31) of Law No 549 of 28 December 1995, which introduce a special levy for the depositing of waste in landfills and make provision for the period within which the levy is to be collected from the landfill site operator, when the levy system of which they form part does not, however, require waste providers to reimburse the amount of the levy to the landfill site operator within a reasonable time, or prescribe any effective mechanism for such reimbursement. AG Sharpston further noted that a penalty imposed on a landfill site operator for late payment of such a levy cannot be recovered from the waste provider unless the landfill site operator can demonstrate that the penalty is a cost that it necessarily incurs because of the waste provider’s failure to reimburse the levy in a timely fashion.
Added to Legislation, Water
On 14 September 2009, the Council of the EU adopted a Directive improving current rules on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements. According to the new law, ship-source discharges of polluting substances, including minor cases of such discharges, are regarded a criminal offence if committed with intent, recklessly or with serious negligence. Persons responsible for these discharges are subject to adequate penalties, including criminal penalties. The new directive amends directive 2005/35/EC. Its adoption follows a first-reading agreement reached with the European Parliament under the co-decision legislative procedure. Member States will have a year to transpose the Directive into national law.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
On 10 September 1009, the European Commission presented a balanced blueprint for financing the necessary action by developing countries to limit their emissions growth and their adaptation to climate change. Based on the Commission’s best estimates, developing countries overall financing needs will hit €100 billion a year by 2020, assuming an ambitious agreement is reached in Copenhagen. The Commission proposed in its policy paper an EU contribution of some €2-15 billion a year by 2020. In the event of a successful agreement in Copenhagen the EU would also provide €0.5-2.1 billion annually starting in 2010. For the period after 2012, the EU climate contribution could come from three sources: the EU budget, a separate climate fund or Member States’ direct contributions. The exact contribution would be determined by two factors: the share of global GDP in 2008 and the share of global emissions in 2005. The Commission’s paper will be discussed by EU leaders at their October summit.
At a meeting of the Commission’s Climate Change Committee, Member States approved a draft list of 164 sectors and sub-sectors which the Commission judges face a significant risk of carbon leakage. Under the revised EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) which will apply from 2013, installations in such sectors will receive a higher share of greenhouse gas emission allowances free of charge than other industrial sectors. The list has been drawn up on the basis of detailed criteria on CO2 costs and trade exposure set out in the revised EU ETS Directive. The final decision should be adopted by the European Commission by the end of the year following scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council; it will be reviewed after the Copenhagen agreement.
Added to Sectors, Air
Following ratification by the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, announced on 16 September 2009 by the UN Ozone Secretariat, all 196 members of the United Nations have now ratified the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer. Agreed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer protects the ozone layer from damage caused by certain industrial chemicals known as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The Protocol has also helped significantly to protect the global climate since ozone-depleting substances are also potent greenhouse gases. The Protocol will, by the end of this year, have banned production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants and solvents and halon fire extinguishants. It has set a clear timetable for phasing out other harmful substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and methyl bromide. As a result of these actions the ozone layer is expected to return to normal levels from 2050 onwards.
Added to Sectors, Nature and Agriculture
At a meeting of EU national representatives in Brussels on 21 September 2009, Mediterranean governments (Spain, Malta, Italy, France, Greece and Cyprus) raised their opposition to proposals aimed at temporarily banning international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna in order to preserve the species. The proposal to list bluefin tuna as an endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was originally tabled by Monaco in July 2009 at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The European Commission had argued that the EU could offer its provisional support to Monaco’s proposal, while waiting for further scientific evidence on the population status of Atlantic bluefin tuna and the outcome of the annual meeting of the ICCAT in November 2009. However, EU national experts were unable to reach the necessary qualified majority to adopt the Commission’s recommendation. EU Member States will have an opportunity to review their position before the Convention’s meeting in March 2010.
In this report the European Court of Auditors analyses the Commission’s management of LIFE-Nature projects in terms of the sustainability of their results. LIFE-Nature, a component of LIFE, co-finances projects in the Member States, mainly in relation to Natura 2000 sites, in favour of the conservation of species and habitats. Overall, the projects audited have contributed to the conservation of the targeted species and habitats, namely in the Natura 2000 sites, thus contributing to the Member States’ efforts and supporting the volunteer work and commitment of EU citizens and their associations in favour of biodiversity conservation. However, the audit concluded that measures financed by LIFE-Nature are not, as yet, sufficiently safeguarded after completion of the projects.
Added to Upcoming Events
The conference, organized by Seas At Risk, will focus on the best way to eliminate the overcapacity of the EU fleet in the framework of the revised Common Fisheries Policy, while ensuring the remaining fleet is environmentally and socially sustainable.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Date: 21 October 2009
The expectations of the congress are to foster debate and research on the environmental effects of man’s activities, promoting consistent international cooperation among scientists, practitioners and politicians, increasing innovative thinking and communication efficiency, confronting knowledge, resources and systems with real life applications.
Location: Porto, Portugal
Date: 18 – 22 October 2009
Environmental assessments are procedural instruments requiring administrative authorities to assess the environmental effects of public or private infrastructure projects and plans likely to have an effect on the environment, although procedural approaches towards environmental impact assessments still differ between Member States. The case law developed by the ECJ and by national Courts plays an important role in delimiting member states’ margin of discretion. Compliance by the European Community and its member states with their obligations on access to justice under the Aarhus Convention will be a focus of the conference.
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Date: 2 – 3 November 2009
The goal of the conference is an overview and discussion about measures in air quality planning. After the presentation of the development of air quality in Germany, measures on reduction of particulate matter (PM10) as well as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from Germany, Great Britain, Austria and the Czech Republic will be discussed.
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Date: 19 November 2009
Added to Vacancies
The post holder will work as a member of the fisheries policy team, contributing to WWF’s policy and advocacy work in reforming Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy. He/she will assist with internal coordination and operations and liaise with the European Parliament on fisheries matters.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Deadline: 30 September 2009
STELLA Consulting is seeking an employee to work on the company’s business development activities and to participate in the implementation of environmental projects.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Deadline: 30 September 2009
Under the supervision of the Director, Environment, Housing and Land Management Division, the incumbent will serve as Deputy Head of Office and Programme Officer for Water, Energy and Environmental issues in the ECE-ESCAP Office for Central Asia.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline: 7 November 2009
Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Jens Hamer (Court of First Instance of the European Community, Luxemburg)*
* All views expressed are entirely personal and can in no way be attributed to the CFI or ECJ
Leonardo Massai (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Efstathia Koutsopoulou (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)