Added to Case Law, ECJ
T-380/06, Vischim Srl v. CommissionCFI 7-10-2009
By this action the applicant, a notifier and main datasubmitter of chlorothalonil, has sought the annulment of Article 2 paragraph 2 of Directive 2006/76/EC concerning the amended specification of the active substance chlorothalonil listed in Annex I to Directive 91/414/EEC. According to the applicant, the new rules concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market did not provide for reasonable time limits during which Member States and the applicant could prepare themselves to meet new requirements and instead provided for retroactive application of its provisions. The Court of First Instance dismissed the action by stating that the contested Directive does not repeal Directive 2005/53, but merely amends Annex I to Directive 91/414 so far as concerns the specification for the substance at issue. According to the Court, the contested Directive therefore does not in any way affect the entire procedure for the inclusion of that substance in Annex I to Directive 91/414.
T-420/05, Vischim Srl v. Commission
The applicant sought the partial annulment of Commission Directive
2005/53/EC in so far as it includes the active substance chlorothalonil,
in Annex I to Directive 91/414/EEC concerning the placing of plant
protection products on the market (PPPD), with a purity specification
that does not correspond to the specification notified to and evaluated
by the Commission and the Standing Committee on Plant Health.
In support of the application the applicant contended the fact that
it was unlawfully rejected as a main data submitter and that its studies
were unlawfully removed from Appendix IIIA to the review report.
The applicant also alleged that it was excluded from certain critical
meetings and/or exchanges, in violation of procedural safeguards
provided for in the PPPD and Regulation 3600/92 and that its
chlorothalonil specification was unlawfully withdrawn from Annex I to
the PPPD. The Court of First Instance dismissed the action in its entirety.
This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of the right of access of the public to a review procedure to challenge decisions authorising projects likely to have significant effects on the environment. The national Court asked the ECJ to determine whether article 10a of Directive 85/337, as amended by Directive 2003/35 to bring it into line with the Aarhus Convention, allows ‘the public concerned’ unrestricted access to the courts when it has participated in the procedure for planning consent. The ECJ held that Members of the ‘public concerned’ within the meaning of Article 1(2) and 10a of Directive 85/337, must be able to have access to a review procedure to challenge the decision by which a body attached to a court of law of a Member State has given a ruling on a request for development consent, regardless of the role they might have played in the examination of that request by taking part in the procedure before that body and by expressing their views. Furthermore, the Court ruled that although Article 10a leaves to national legislatures the task of determining the conditions which may be required in order for a non-governmental organisation which promotes environmental protection to have a right of appeal, these national rules must 1) ensure ‘wide access to justice’ and 2) render effective the provisions of Directive 85/337 on judicial remedies. Accordingly, the ECJ concluded that Article 10a precludes a provision of national law which reserves the right to bring an appeal against a decision on projects which fall within the scope of that Directive solely to environmental protection associations which have at least 2000 members.
C-425/08, Enviro Tech (Europe) Ltd v. État belge
By this reference for a preliminary ruling the referring Court asked the ECJ to rule on the validity of Directive 2004/73/EC and its compliance with the Framework Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances. The ECJ concluded that examination of the questions referred has shown no factor capable of affecting the validity of Directive 2004/73, in that it classifies n-propyl bromide as a highly flammable substance (R11) and toxic for reproduction in category 2 (R60).
C-255/08, Commission v.The Netherlands ECJ 15-10-2009 The European Court of Justice condemned the Netherlands for its failure to adopt the necessary measures to correctly implement Article 4(2) and (3) in conjunction with Annexes II and III of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Sector: EIA C-30/09, Commission v. Portugal ECJ 15-10-2009
The European Court of Justice declared that Portugal has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 11 of Council Directive 96/82/EC on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, by not drawing up external emergency plans for the establishments requiring such plans.
Added to Sectors, General
The European Commission has authorized a revised version of a Dutch tax incentive measure aimed to stimulate investments in projects that have a positive effect on nature and the environment in the Netherlands. The measure was first approved by the Commission in August 2006 under the name “Regeling Groenprojecten”. Based on the last ten years experience, the modified scheme proposes new categories of projects concerned with the development and preservation of nature, forests and countryside, projects for sustainable aquaculture and the production of renewable energy as well as the construction of sustainable building, including housing. The Commission found that the measure was in line with the criteria of the Commission’s guidelines on state aid for agriculture, for fisheries, for the environment and with EC Treaty rules on state aid for the development of certain economic activities (Article 87(3)(c). The decision will be made available under the case number N 249/2008 in the State Aid Register.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
EU Finance Ministers meeting in Luxemburg on 20 October 2009 failed to reach an agreement on individual Member State contributions towards an EU funding aimed to help developing countries tackling climate change. Last month a Commission communication unveiled that developing countries will need €100 billion a year by 2020 to mitigate the effects of climate change and limit their CO2 emissions, and that the EU contribution should be in the range of €2-15 billion. However, Member States are divided over whether national contributions should be based on ability to pay or on current emission levels. EU leaders meeting in Brussels on 29-30 October 2009 will have to turn more attention to this issue in the view of reaching a common negotiating position before the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.
The Covenant of Mayors has developed a new interactive tool to help EU cities reducing CO2 emissions. The Covenant of Mayors is a commitment by signatory towns and cities to go beyond the objectives of EU energy policy in terms of reduction in CO2 emissions through enhanced energy efficiency and cleaner energy production and use. The Covenant signatories are asked to complete this online template by providing information regarding their Overall Strategy, the details of their Emission Inventory and the measures included in their Sustainable Energy Action Plans. As of 1 October 2009, more than 700 mayors have signed the Covenant and in doing so, have committed to reduce their CO2 emissions beyond the EU 20% by 2020 target.
Added to Sectors, Air
On 8 October 2009, the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the UNECE Aarhus Convention entered into force. Its objective is “to enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers (PRTRs)”. Under the protocol, firms must report annually on releases into the environment and transfers to other facilities of 86 pollutants, including greenhouse gases, dioxins and heavy metals such as mercury. The protocol was adopted in May 2003 and counts 38 signatories and 21 ratifications in the UNECE region. Moreover many other countries are applying its right-to-know principles and developing pollutant release and transfer registers.
Added to Sectors, Waste
On 8 October 2009, the European Commission has decided to take the United Kingdom to the European Court of Justice on the grounds that urban waste water collecting systems and treatment facilities in London and Whitburn in north east England do not comply with Directive 91/271/EEC on urban waste water treatment. The Directive provides that collecting systems and treatment plants may be allowed to spill waste water in certain situations such as emergency shutdowns or unusually heavy rainfall. However, the Commission considers that the waste water collecting systems in London and Whitburn are being allowed to spill untreated waste waters from storm water overflows (known as ‘combined sewer overflows’ in the UK) too frequently and in excessive quantities. The Commission is also concerned that treatment capacity for the waste waters collected in London is in need of improvement.
The European Commission has sent a final written warming to Spain for its failure to comply with a judgement of the European Court of Justice concerning waste water treatment. Under the Urban Waste Water Directive urban areas with more than 10,000 inhabitants are required to have adequate collection and treatment systems. In case C-361/05 the ECJ has declared that Spain had failed to appropriately treat the waste water from the cities of Sueca, Benifaió, Sollana, Almussafes and other coastal towns discharged into a sensitive area, the Frente coastline of the Albufera Nature Park, located close to Motilla Beach. Since the ECJ ruling there are important delays and gaps in the measures necessary to carry out the appropriate collection and treatment of waste water in these areas. The Commission has therefore sent to Spain a second written warning. Should Spain fail to comply fully with the court judgement, the Commission may again refer it to the European Court of Justice and ask that fines be imposed.
In light of recent judgements by the European Court of Justice, the European Commission has decided to close an infringement case against Germany concerning the award of public waste treatment service contracts by administrative districts and public special purpose associations to other public entities without the execution of European-wide tender procedures. In cases C-324/07 and C-573/07 the ECJ confirmed that public-public cooperation via jointly controlled public entities with limited market orientation carrying out the essential part of their activities with their public owners does not require the application of public procurement procedures. In case C-480/06 the ECJ specified that public-public cooperation does not require the creation of jointly controlled entities but can be based on a not for profit cooperation aimed at jointly ensuring the execution of the public tasks of the cooperation partners. Following these judgements, the Commission held that the cases of public-public cooperation in Rhineland – Palatinate fall within the scope of application of the ECJ case law and thus decided to close the infringement case against Germany.
Added to Sectors, Nature and Agriculture
On 16 October 2009, the European Commission has adopted a proposal setting the new levels of total allowable catch (TAC) and fishing effort for fish stocks applicable in Community waters and for Community vessels. The annual fishing opportunities Regulation is the main instrument of the conservation policy under the Common Fisheries Policy. The Commission is required to propose annually the catch and fishing effort limitations to ensure that Community fisheries are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. This year the Commission has proposed many reductions in catches. For example, TACs for spurdog (spiny dogfish) have been reduced by 90%. Reductions of 25% for vulnerable stocks of southern anglerfish, whiting in the Irish Sea and west of Scotland, blue ling, Irish Sea sole, and herring North and West of Ireland have been put forward. For a further 50 stocks, reductions of 15% or less have been proposed. Based on the proposal, Member States’ Fisheries Ministers will decide on the levels of TACs for 2010 at their meeting of 14 and 15 December 2009.
On 8 October 2009, the European Commission decided to take Romania to the European Court of Justice for its repeated failure to classify a sufficient number of protected areas for wild birds in line with the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. Romania is home to 12 species that are globally threatened and the Danube Delta alone hosts more than 320 bird species. When the country joined the Union in 2007, it was obliged to designate a number of areas to protect birds. However, the legislative process has been slow, and although some progress has been made, Romania has still not delivered on a number of commitments regarding nature conservation.
The European Commission is sending written warnings to Bulgaria about four separate instances of failure to provide adequate protection for its natural heritage. The first two warnings concern failures to assess the impact on protected species and habitats of on-going tourist and skiing developments in the Bansko Ski Centreon protected areas of the Pirin Mountains and of the spatial development plan for the Tsarevo Municipality in southeast Bulgaria. A third warning relates to the failure to bring Bulgarian nature legislation fully into line with the Habitats Directive. The practical implications of this failure to implement the Directive have become apparent from the destruction of important habitats as a result of works undertaken along the Vaya River in the protected area of Emine-Irakli, which is the subject of the fourth letter sent by the Commission. In each case, the Commission has sent the Bulgarian authorities a first written warning to address the specific issues. The Bulgarian authorities now have two months in which to respond.
Added to Upcoming Events
The 7th ETAP Forum on eco-innovation will take place in Copenhagen on the eve of the crucial COP 15 global negotiations on climate change. The conference will bring together key policy makers and practitioners in this rapidly developing field to: showcase the best of emerging practice on policy and action at national, regional and local levels; explore the role of eco-innovation, new collaborative approaches and financial mechanisms to ensure effective and sustainable responses; make recommendations to the EU and Member States in setting future frameworks to support adaptation measures.
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: 23-24 November 2009
The 8th International Ecocity Conference has as the main theme “Global Environmental Balances”, and the topics focus on finding new approaches towards a new ecologically oriented world order for future generations. Besides underlining the importance of eco-thinking, ethics, eco-politics and the methods to reach an ecological awareness, issues such as spatial planning policies and natural resource management, energy provision technologies, eco-architecture and design and environmentally friendly building materials will also be discussed by scientists, politicians and environment experts in the perspective of the third millennium.
Location: Instanbul, Turkey
Date: 13-15 December 2009
Added to Vacancies
The Officer is: a liaison between internal experts and senior managers and the Member States’ diplomatic corps; a specialist, identifying relevant issues and analysing and reporting on their implications; and an adviser, preparing studies and documents and providing advice on their application and interpretation.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Deadline: 3 November 2009
The incumbent will analyze CDM Executive Board issues and decisions to recommend CDM Registry management policy and operations, procedures and information management system changes and manage the on-going development of the CDM Registry system and its daily operations; analyze complex international trading financial and administrative issues for the trade of certified emission reduction credits and develops CDM registry administration policy options and management procedures; and establish account creation and administration procedures for the administration of the accounts of Parties and entities that receive credits for various emission reduction units from CDM project activities.
Location: Bonn, Germany
Deadline: 13 November 2009
The post will lead and coordinate the EU policy work of the European Division, supporting the development of views and positions of the BirdLife Partnership on relevant policy issues. She/he will also promote, coordinate and represent the views of the BirdLife Partnership to the EU institutions, promote legislative change and raise the political profile of issues and policies, while promoting BirdLife priorities.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Deadline: 18 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)