Added to Case Law, ECJ
T-183/07, Poland v. Commission
T-263/07, Estonia v. Commission
In these two landmark rulings the Court of First Instance (CFI) annulled the Commission decisions concerning the national allocation plan (NAP) for the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances notified by Poland and Estonia for the period from to 2008-2012. Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community, provides that Member States are to develop a NAP stating the total quantity of allowances that it intends to allocate for five-year periods and how it proposes to allocate them. The plan is to be notified to the Commission and to the other Member States. If the NAP is incompatible with the Directive’s criteria, the Commission may reject it or any aspect of it. The Commission held the NAPs notified by Poland and Estonia in 2006 for the period 2008 to 2012 incompatible with the criteria in the Directive and decided that the proposed total annual quantities of emission allowances should be reduced (by 26.7% and 47.8% respectively). The two countries asked the CFI to annul the Commission’s decisions. The CFI clarified that a Member State alone has the power, first, to draw up the NAP whereby it proposes to achieve the aims of the Directive concerning greenhouse gas emissions and, second, to take final decisions fixing the total quantity of allowances which it will allocate for each five-year period and the distribution of that quantity amongst economic operators. Member States have a margin for manoeuvre in deciding the method which they adopt in order to draw up their NAP for allowances. For its part, the Commission has a restricted power of review in respect of NAPs. It can verify the conformity of the NAP with the Directive’s criteria and can only reject a plan on the grounds of incompatibility with those criteria and provisions, by reasoned decision. By specifying a specific quantity of allowances and by rejecting the NAPs on the basis of reasoning which consists only in the evocation of doubts as to the reliability of the data used by Poland and Estonia, the Commission exceeded the limits of its power of review under Directive 2003/87.
Sector: Climate Change
T-192/01, Lior v. Commission
T-245/04, Commission v. Lior
In these two joined cases the CFI ruled on pecuniary claims with regard to seven contracts for projects in the field of renewable energy (Thermie and Altener II) concluded between the company Lior and the Commission.
C-252/08, Commission v. Malta
The ECJ condemned Malta for its failure to correctly apply Directive 2001/80/EC on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants in relation to the operation of the Phase One steam plant of the Delimara and Marsa power stations. Specifically, the Court held that Malta has failed to fulfill its obligations under Articles 4(1) and 12 of that Directive (fixing of specific emission limit values in respect of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust for combustion plants and continuous measurements of concentrations of these emissions) in conjunction with Part A of Annex IV, Part A of Annex VI, Part A of Annex VII and Part A.2 of Annex VIII by not adopting the measures necessary to bring its legislation into line with Community law. It can be noted that Malta, which joined the EU on 1 May 2004, was allowed (in an Annex to the Act concerning the conditions for its accession to the EU) by way of derogation from Article 4(1) of the Directive and Part A of Annex VII thereto, to apply the emission limit value for dust to Phase One of the Delimara power plant only after 31 December 2005. Apparently, the derogation period did not suffice the Maltese.
C-370/07, Commission v. Council
The Commission sought the annulment of the Council Decision of 24 May 2007 establishing the position to be adopted on behalf of the European Community with regard to certain proposals submitted at the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), because it failed to indicate the legal basis on which it was founded. The Commission had proposed to use a dual legal basis, namely Article 175 and 300(2) EC Treaty, but Member States could not agree in the Council on this point and decided not to indicate any legal basis. The ECJ noted that the contested decision is a measure which produces binding legal effects, in so far as it establishes the Community position at that 14th CITES meeting, and which is binding in nature, first, with respect to the Council and the Commission and, second, with respect to the Member States inasmuch as it obliges them to defend that position. The Court therefore held that the contested decision must be reasoned and must therefore indicate the legal basis on which it is founded in order that the Court may be able to exercise its powers of review. For that reason, the Court annulled the contested decision, but ruled that the effects of the annulled decision must be maintained on grounds of legal certainty.
Sector: Nature and Agriculture
C-335/07, Commission v. Finland
The ECJ dismissed the Commission’s action against Finland for failure to fulfill obligations by not requiring more stringent treatment of all waste water collected in agglomerations of more than 10 000 population equivalent (p.e) under Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment. The Court first noted that Directive 91/271/EEC does not provide for a general obligation to require tertiary treatment of nitrogen from the discharges of every treatment plant of urban waste water from such agglomerations. Further, the Court held that the Commission has failed to establish that the quantity of nitrogen which comes from treatment plants of urban waste water from such agglomerations whose discharges flow into the Gulf of Bothnia contributes to eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the Commission has failed to prove that Finland was obliged to require tertiary treatment of nitrogen in every treatment plant of urban waste water from agglomerations of more than 10 000 p.e. whose discharges flow into the Gulf of Bothnia.
C-438/07, Commission v. Sweden
The ECJ condemned Sweden for the failure to fulfill its obligations under Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste-water treatment, so far as concerns discharges of nitrogen from the treatment plants listed in the amended Annexes 2 and 3.
Added to Legislation, Energy
On 24 September 2009, the Council of the European Union adopted a revised eco-design Directive following a first-reading agreement with the European Parliament. The new Directive extends the scope of the existing Directive 2005/32 by covering in principle all energy-related products. The current eco-design rules deal only with energy-using products, such as washing machines, freezers or hair-driers. In the future, products such as windows, insulation materials, or certain water using products like shower heads or taps are covered as well. The new rules require manufacturers of energy related products to consider already at the design stage the environmental impact of those products throughout their whole life cycle, thus facilitating environmental improvement in a cost-effective way.
Added to Legislation, Air
On 24 September 2009, the Council of the European Union adopted a Directive that will decrease harmful emissions from petrol vapour at service stations. The new act obliges numerous filling stations to install equipment recovering harmful gases that escape when refuelling cars and other vehicles. Already now, service stations in the EU need to capture the vapour arising from the delivery of petrol to their storage tanks. With the new law, emissions will be further reduced as petrol stations must additionally recover at least 85% of the gases that escape when refuelling vehicles. Member states must bring into force all laws necessary to comply with this Directive by 1 January 2012.
Added to Legislation, Chemicals
On 24 September 2009, the Council of the European Union adopted a Directive aimed at establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides so as to reduce the risks to human health and the environment and the dependency on the use of pesticides. This Directive will apply to pesticides and its scope will be extended to cover biocidal products at a later stage. Member States have to ensure that all professional users of pesticides implement the general standards for integrated pest management at the latest by 1 January 2014.
Added to Legislation, Nature and Agriculture
On 24 September 2009, the Council of the European Union adopted a Regulation to replace the current legislation setting out the rules on the authorisation of plant protection products. This Regulation, based on a Commission proposal, will result in an increased protection of human health and of the environment in the use of plant protection products. At the same time, the new Regulation will also lead to a better protection of agricultural production and extend and deepen the single market of plant protection products. Strict cut-off criteria for the approval at EU level of active substances are laid down in the new Regulation which will ban from the market the most toxic substances currently available. The procedures for the approval of active substances and authorisation of plant protection products have been harmonised and simplified, deadlines have been tightened, and the roles of the Member States, the Commission, and European Food Safety Authority have been clarified.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
On 1 October 2009, the European Commission presented to Member States in Brussels a plan to distribute €1bn EU funding to seven specific carbon capture and storage demonstration (CCS) projects across Europe. The Commission selected seven of the 11 projects that applied for funding following a call for proposals in the context of the European Energy Programme for Recovery. Schemes in Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK are all likely to secure funding of up to a maximum of €180m. Member States will have two weeks in which to register any objections before the proposals are submitted to the European Parliament.
Added to Sectors, Air
According to the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) status report published by the European Environment Agency on 31 September 2009, just 14 Member States are expected to meet their respective 2010 air pollutant limits. The NEC Directive sets specific emission ceilings for four pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) and ammonia (NH3) which should be met by each Member State of the European Union by 2010. As stated in the report a number of Member States have indicated they will not achieve at least one of their 2010 emission ceilings. Spain anticipated missing three emission ceilings — those for NOx, NMVOC and NH3. Three Member States (France, Germany and the Netherlands) each anticipated missing two of their four emission ceilings (though the countries did indicate that through additional measures they hope to still meet all the ceilings by 2010). Of the four ceilings, NOxremains by far the most difficult for many Member States to achieve – 12 Member States estimate they will miss the ceiling for this pollutant without additional measures. At the aggregated European Community level, only for SO2 andNH3 is the EU-27 likely to meet the aggregated ceilings.
Added to Upcoming Events
This meeting aims to identify the link between global warming and the lost of biodiversity. Indeed within the next decades, Central Europe and especially the Alpine space have to take into account enormous changes of the composition of species and habitats in our latitudes. The establishment of an ecological continuum facilitating migration in altitude but mainly in a south-north transect may be one of the answers we can develop from today on.
Location: Berchtesgaden, Germany
Date: 15-16 October 2009
In view of the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, this conference, organized by the Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Amsterdam, will look back at earlier legal and institutional reforms that shaped the process of European integration and the development of EU environmental policy and law. Several European Environmental Law and Policy issues will be discussed transdisciplinary by selected European experts.
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Date: 19 November 2009
This half-day event aims to provide practical tools and tips to ensure that businesses are fulfilling their responsibilities under REACH and CLP legislation.
Location: London, UK
Date: 25 November 2009
Added to Vacancies
The Environment, Health and Safety Division of the Environment Directorate is looking for a Senior Environmental Policy Analyst to manage its programme related to pesticide regulatory affairs. Under the supervision of the Head of the Division, the selected candidate will be primarily responsible for managing the Division’s work on pesticides and activities which support the harmonisation of information technology systems used by governments for the registration of pesticides. She/he will also oversee other work related to the management of industrial chemicals.
Location: Paris, France
Deadline: 12 October 2009
Under the authority and supervision of the Rector, the Vice-Rector in Europe/Director of UNUEHS will assist the Rector in his role of chief academic and administrative officer of the UNU and will be a fully integrated member of the management team of the University, among others.
Location: Bonn, Germany
Deadline: 15 November 2009
GE Corporate is looking for a Legal Counsel to support the GE businesses in the implementation of EU regulations, develop guidance for GE businesses on EU environmental regulatory initiatives and particularly REACH, liaise with European business and industry associations on environmental law and policy, represent GE in meetings with the European institutions, the EU Member States and regulators and participate in the assessment of business and site EHS management and compliance programs.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
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)