Added to Case Law, ECJ
AG Opinion 22-10-2009
Advocate General Juliane Kokott delivered an opinion on questions referred by a Sicilian court to the ECJ in a case involving Italian authorities and several companies operating near the coastal town of Augusta, Sicily. The firms were required to remedy the contaminated sea soil in the Rada di Augusta in dredging the contaminated sediments, which where, after a treatment, used to build a barrier along the seafront. They argued that Italian authorities failed to carry out an environmental assessment prior to their decision. Advocate General Kokott stated that national authorities can in specific cases require prevention or remediation measures without an environmental assessment. Moreover the AG advised the Court to rule that under Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage, companies operating in a polluted area are primary responsible for the environmental damage caused and that there is no obligation to determine what caused the damage in the first place if the causes cannot be found. The AG further stated that EU rules on environmental liability should only apply to damage caused by industrial activities carried out after 30 April 2007.
C-115/08, Land Oberösterreich v. CEZ
The reference for a preliminary ruling was made in the context of proceedings concerning actual or potential nuisance emanating from ionising radiation arising from CEZ’s operation of a nuclear power plant at Temelín, in the Czech Republic, affecting agricultural land situated in Austria and belonging to the Land Oberösterreich. In Austria a land owner may prohibit his neighbour from causing nuisance, emanating from the latter’s land, in so far as it exceeds normal local levels and, if the interference is caused by an officially authorised installation on the neighbouring land, the landowner is entitled only to bring court proceedings for compensation for the damage caused. The Austrian court asked the ECJ to rule whether the prohibition of discriminations on grounds of nationality allows a difference in treatment between industrial installations which have been granted official authorisation by the national authorities and those which have been granted authorisation by the authorities of another Member State. The ECJ concluded that Austria cannot justify the discrimination practised in respect of the official authorisation granted in the Czech Republic for the operation of the Temelín nuclear power plant on the ground that it is necessary for protecting life, public health, the environment or property rights. The Court pointed out that the existing Community legislative framework, of which that authorisation forms a part, contributes precisely and essentially towards ensuring the protection of those values.
C-22/09, Commission v. Luxembourg
The ECJ declared that, by failing to adopt all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings, Luxembourg has failed to fulfil its obligations under that Directive.
C-188/08, Commission v. Ireland
The ECJ condemned Ireland for its failure to adopt, all the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Articles 4 and 8 of Directive 75/442/EEC on waste, as regards domestic waste waters disposed of in the countryside through septic tanks and other individual waste water treatment systems.
C-249/08, Commission v. Italy
The ECJ declared that Italy has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 1(1) of Regulation (EEC) No 2241/87 establishing certain control measures for fishing activities and Articles 2(1), 31(1) and (2) of Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy, by failing to provide appropriate measures for the control, inspection and surveillance of fishing activities within its territory and within maritime waters subject to its sovereignty or jurisdiction. Italy was particularly condemned with regard to the missing compliance with the provisions governing the retention on board and use of drift-nets. Italy also failed to comply sufficiently with its obligation to ensure that appropriate measures are taken against those responsible for infringements of the Community legislation on the retention on board and use of drift nets, in particular by imposing dissuasive penalties on those persons.
Sector: Nature and Agriculture
C-274/08, Commission v. Sweden
Sweden has been condemned by the ECJ for its failure to fulfil its obligations under Article 15(2)(b) and (c) and Article 23(2)(a) of Directive 2003/54/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity, by failing to adopt measures necessary to ensure a functional division between distribution and production interests in a vertically integrated undertaking and by failing to make the regulatory authorities responsible for approving, in advance, at least the methodologies used to calculate or establish the terms and conditions for access to national networks, including transmission and distribution tariffs.
C-474/08, Commission v. Belgium
The ECJ declared that Belgium has failed to fulfil its obligations under Directive 2003/54/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity, by failing to provide that cases of refusal of access to the distribution or transmission network can be submitted to the regulatory authority which will rule by binding decision within two months, in accordance with Article 23(5) and by removing certain issues which are decisive for the calculation of tariffs from the competence of the regulatory authority as set out in Article 23(2) of that Directive.
T-212/06, Bowland Dairy Products v. Commission
The CFI dismissed the applicant’s action for damages for the loss allegedly suffered as a consequence of the refusal by the Commission to circulate, under the rapid alert system provided for in Article 50 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, a supplementary notification declaring that the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency was content for the applicant’s curd cheese to be marketed. The CFI declared the claim for damages inadmissible as it was based on the fact that the Commission expressed an opinion, which has no legal effects and it is not binding upon the competent authority of the Member State. The Court held that the competent authority of the Member State has sole responsibility for drafting the notifications under Article 50(3) of Regulation No 178/2002.
Added to Sectors, General
EU Environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg on 21 October 2009, adopted conclusions setting out the EU position for the Copenhagen climate Conference. On the scale of the long-term emission reduction objective, the EU Ministers supported a target of 80-95 percent by 2050. They also endorsed emission reduction goals of 10 percent for the aviation sector and 20 percent for the maritime sector compared with 2005 levels. On the crucial issue of tackling a potential surplus of assigned amount units (so-called AAUs) from the Kyoto Protocol’s 2008-2012 commitment period, Member States decided to recognize their implication on the environmental integrity and stressed that further discussions will be needed on possible options to address it. Moreover, the Council agreed to support the transition to an eco-efficient economy and integrated it as a key objective in the new Lisbon Strategy. Furthermore, EU Environment ministers adopted conclusions on ship dismantling, which could, if appropriate, lead to a legislative proposal to ensure that ships with a strong link to the EU in terms of flag or ownership are dismantled only in safe and environmentally sound facilities worldwide. As regards the proposed recast of two Directives concerning, first electrical and electronic equipment, the WEEE Directive, promoting recycling and recovery of electrical and electronic waste, and second, the RoHS Directive, intended to eliminate as far as possible the use of hazardous substances in such equipment, the majority of delegations supported the idea that the two Directives could have separate scopes that take account of their different legal bases and objectives.
On 29 October 2009, the European Commission announced that is taking Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain to the European Court of Justice for their failure to issue new or updated permits for over 1,500 industrial installations. The Commission is also sending first written warnings to Austria, France and Sweden for insufficient progress towards issuing permits for around 1,700 installations operating in those countries. Under the Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), Member States were required by 30 October 2007 to issue new permits or reconsider and, where necessary, update existing permits for all industrial installations that were in operation before 30 October 1999.
On 29 October 2009, the European Commission has proposed to refer Ireland back to the European Court of Justice for its failure to comply with a previous Court ruling (C-148/05) condemning Ireland for its failure to designate all of its shellfish waters or establish pollution reduction programmes for areas requiring designation under the Shellfish Water Directive. Following the judgment, Ireland has designated 49 additional shellfish waters, with only one non-designation issue (Rostellan in Cork Harbour) still remaining, but finalised and adopted pollution reduction programmes are still missing for all of the additional designations. The Commission has therefore decided to bring legal action against Ireland for non-compliance with the Court’s judgment. However, because Ireland has announced it is finalising measures to comply with the judgment, the lodging of this legal action will be deferred for three months. In a separate case, the Commission is sending Ireland a final written warning concerning the possibility under Irish legislation for land identified in a development plan to be re-zoned before the final approval of the plans, without these changes being subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
The European Commission will provide €207.5 million for 196 new projects under the 2008 LIFE+ programme. LIFE+ is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU. LIFE+ has a total budget of €2.143 billion for the period 2007-2013, during which, the Commission will launch one call for LIFE+ project proposals per year. The projects selected to receive the 2008 LIFE+ funding are from across the EU and cover actions in the fields of nature and biodiversity; environmental policy and governance; and information and communication. Overall, they represent a total investment of €431 million.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
On 30 October 2009, the European Council established the position of the EU with regards to the forthcoming Copenhagen conference on climate change. Heads of state and government agreed on the funding needed to help developing nations tackle global warming but postponed the decision about each Member State’s share of the total burden to be agreed after the Copenhagen summit. EU leaders endorsed the estimate that, by 2020, the overall level of the international public support required could amount to €22 to 50 billion a year. Until 2012, fast-start international funding worth €5-7 billion per year would be needed to avoid any delay of effective action. The European Council called upon all parties to embrace the 2°C objective and to agree to global emission reductions of at least 50%, and aggregate developed country emission reductions of at least 80-95%, as part of such global emission reductions, by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
Added to Sectors, Air
On 28 October 2009, the European Commission proposed the adoption of a new Regulation to reduce CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles (vans) to 175g CO2/km. This target will be phased in gradually from 2014 onwards with full compliance of the new light commercial fleet from 2016. For the long-term it provides for average emission to be reduced to135 g/km by 2020. The vehicles affected by the legislation are vans, which account for around 12% of the market for light-duty vehicles. This includes vehicles used to carry goods weighing up to 3.5t (vans and car-derived vans, known as N1) and which weigh less than 2610kg when empty. The proposal provides manufacturers with an incentive to reduce CO2 emissions through an excess emissions premium to be paid if average emission levels exceed the limit value curve. The proposal will now be communicated to the Council and to the European Parliament as part of the co-decision legislative procedure.
On 29 October 2009, the European Commission has sent a final written warning to Estonia, Slovenia and Sweden over failure to comply with the EU air quality standards for a dangerous airborne pollutant, fine particulate matter (PM10). The two binding air quality limit values for PM10 entered into force on 1 January 2005. Under Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe, Member States are allowed, under strict conditions, to notify a time extension enabling them to extend the deadline for compliance with the PM10 standards until 10 June 2011. Since Estonia, Slovenia and Sweden have not submitted a time extension notification and their air quality data showed that the limit values for PM10 continue to be exceeded in certain air quality zones, the Commission has decided to sent all three Member States a final written warning before bringing the case to the European Court of Justice.
Added to Sectors, Noise
The European Environment Agency (EEA) has set up a NOISE (Noise Observation and Information Service for Europe) database which provides data related to strategic noise maps delivered in accordance with Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise. Users of the NOISE database can view the extent of data reported on a colour-coded map in 102 large urban agglomerations. According to the EEA, it is estimated that half of the population in urban areas with more than 250 000 inhabitants endure levels above 55 dB Lden (the lower EU benchmark for an average 24-hour period) as a result of ambient road noise. Just over 41 million Europeans are exposed to excessive noise from road traffic alone in the largest cities. So far the database compiles information from 19 of the 32 EEA member countries and it will be updated in December 2009.
Added to Upcoming Events
The 3rd European Renewable Energy Policy Conference will provide a major platform for interaction between the European Renewable Energy Industry and the newly elected European Parliament as well the new European Commission. The conference will debate the necessary steps to make the binding 20 % renewable energy target by 2020 become a reality and will highlight the leadership of the European renewable energy industry in the global arena.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Date: 16-17 November 2009
This multinational conference is focussing on legal issues and trade aspects of biocidal products. As in former years representatives from industry and authorities will come together to update and discuss on the latest issues mainly related to the legal framework in place in certain European countries as well as in the European Union itself with a focus on issues of the upcoming authorisation procedures. In addition aspects of the US system on certain biocidal products will be discussed.
Location: Vienna, Austria
Date: 23-24 November 2009
This year’s ACEA Annual Transport Policy Event focuses on global trends and international cooperation, in particular in the field of road freight transport and energy efficiency. On the eve of the global climate change conference in Copenhagen, and against the backdrop of a deep economic crisis, the ACEA event will bring together industry leaders as well as policy makers from Europe, Japan and the US. They will be joined by a number of high-level experts to discuss the options for progress in the short as well as the longer term.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Date: 3 December 2009
Added to Vacancies
The Environment Directorate (ENV) is looking for a climate change policy analyst to support the Environment Policy Committee’s programme of work. This includes policy analysis related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation), with a particular emphasis on finance, investment and carbon market issues, including evaluation and assessment of national policies.
Location: Paris, France
Deadline: 8 November 2009
The role is to lead and manage the Secretariat’s Major Donor fundraising activities with individuals, trusts, foundations, legacies, and other approaches on a global scale but particularly in Europe.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Deadline: 22 November 2009
The Junior Secretary will provide secretarial and clerical services to Heads of Units or provide administrative support to the operational teams of ECHA implementing technical, scientific and administrative aspects of the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Deadline: 23 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)