Added to Case Law, ECJ
* Case C-240/09, Lesoochranarske zoskupenie VLK,Opinion AG 15-07-2010
The preliminary ruling asked by the Slovakian Supreme Court deals with the Aarhus Convention and whether it has the direct effect where it gives the right to have access to administrative or judicial procedures to challenge an act. The case concerns an NGO that wanted to protest against a decision granting a hunting association permission to derogate from the protective conditions accorded to the brown bear, but was denied the status of party to the proceedings. AG Sharpston’s Opinion takes into account the nature of mixed agreement of the Aarhus convention. In accordance with previous case law, especially Merck Genericos (case C-431/05), and given the lack of a proper community instrument, she proposes to deny direct effect as a matter of EU law. She adds that it is for the national courts to determine whether Article 9(3) of the Aarhus Convention has direct effect within their own legal order in circumstances in which the EU acceded to the treaty, but did not adopt legislation incorporating that specific provision into EU law in respect of the obligations that it imposes on the Member States.
Sector: General & Nature
Added to EC legislation
* Commission Decision 2010/477 EU of 1 September 2010 on criteria of methodological standards on good environmental status of marine water
The Commission Decision is based on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56 EC), which had to be implemented by the 15th July 2010 and sets out criteria to maintain biological diversity, natural habitat and the level that waters can cope with fisheries.
* Commission Directive 2010/60 EU of 30 August 2010 providing for certain derogations for marketing of fodder plant seed mixture intended for use in the preservation of the natural environment.
The new Commission directive is based on the assumption that the preservation and conservation of plants genetic resources is a value to protect. Thus, a system of prior authorization in order to market the fodder is established, which encompasses indicating all the technical characteristics and also the region of origin.
Sector: nature and agriculture
Added to Policy Areas
Green aspects of Barrosso’s State of the Union
* While first focusing on the economic crisis, Barrosso stressed that the EU needs to become more resource-efficient in order to have sustainable growth. He pointed out that in the 20th century, globally the population grew 4 times, economic output 40 times, use of fossil fuels 16 times, fishing catches 35 times, water use 9 times and carbon emissions increased 17 times. The EU thus needs to deliver on its climate and energy package, as a core driver for change. It needs to integrate the different strands of policy on climate change, energy, transport and environment into a coherent approach on resource efficiency and a low carbon future. As concrete example, he mentioned that the EU will ensure that across the whole of Europe, a common standard will be introduced so that charging electric car batteries becomes as natural as filling up the tank. Barrosso pointed out that efforts in resource-efficiency will not only strengthen the EU economy, as jobs in the eco-industry have been increasing by 7% a year since 2000, and expressed his vision of 3 million “green jobs” by 2020, 3 million green collar workers that complement our blue and white collar workers.
Added to Sector nature and agriculture
* Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the Forest Focus scheme according to Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 concerning monitoring of forests and environmental interactions in the Community
* Regulation (EC) No 2152/2003 provided the establishment of a scheme for “long term monitoring of the condition and of the environmental interactions on forests”. It entails also the creation of the Forest Focus database and the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS). It is a useful tool, which works by way of the cooperation of Member States, not only in order to prevent fires but also to analyse their effects on environment.
The following national pages have been updated: Ireland, Italy, Netherlands
Ireland is going to enact a law in order to promote the development of geothermal energy. It is noteworthy that geothermal energy was not included in the renewable energy action plan submitted to the Commission in June; it just falls within the scope of the “addiction policies” listed. The new legislation will deal with resources, ownership, exploration, development and third party rights.
For further information see Irish government press release
Art. 4 of Directive 2009/28 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources states that each Member State has to submit its own national plan by 30th June 2010. Law 4/6/2010 n.96 (the so called legge comunitaria for the year 2009) implements the community obligations.
The Italian national plan has been issued by the Ministry of Economic Development and aims at fostering sustainable development by enhancing energy efficiency and reducing its consumption. Indeed, the Italian objective for 2020 is to cover 17% of its energy needs with renewable sources. The national plan states how to reach that target.
1) Heats: fiscal facilitation; new buildings have to cover 50% of their needs by renewable sources;
2) Transports: fuel producers must market a share of biofuels;
3) Electricity: new systems should be based on renewable sources by “green certificates”; simplification of administrative procedures;
4) Electric net: Italian electric plants will be connected with Balkans and African ones;
5) Administrative procedures: general simplification, a single authorization shall be issued within 180 days from the request
6) International agreements: closer cooperation with Africa and Balkans;
7) Financial operations: funds for the Mezzogiorno (€1600 Millions) and for the respect of Kyoto requirements (€600 Millions), that is, the diffusion of new technologies with high energetic efficiency;
8) Research and innovations: photovoltaic and aeolian;
9) Monitoring and information system
A number of Dutch court decisions dealt with the illegal export of waste from the Netherlands to Ivory Coast with the ship Probo Koala in 2006. Inter alia, the district court of Amsterdam fined the company Trafigura 1 million euro for exporting waste to an ACP country in violation of the European Regulation on waste exports on 23 June 2010 (case nr. 13/846003-06, LJN BN2149). The captain of the Probo Koala only received a suspended prison sentence (case nr. 13/846004-08, LJN BN2193); a manager from Trafigura was fined 25000 euro (case nr. 13/846003-08, LJN BN2068).
The Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that an earlier decision not to prosecute the director of Trafigura,was not correct, as it relied on an unfounded interpretation of the European waste export regulation 259/93 as regards the words ‘transboundary movements’ and ‘export’. In its decision taken on 6 July 2010 (case nr. 09/01546 B, LJN BK9263), the Supreme Court explained that contrary to what the Amsterdam Court had ruled, ‘export’ to an ACP country includes the activities after the waste has entered the territorial waters of an ACP state, and notably reaching a final destination. The Supreme Court rejected the suggestion from Trafigura to ask the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling on this matter. The Amsterdam Court will need to decide anew whether there are other grounds not to prosecute the director, or whether the public prosecutor may bring the case to a Dutch court after all.
A complaint from Greenpeace about not prosecuting Trafigura with regards to what happened in Ivory Coast, where thousands of persons claim to have suffered health problems due to the waste and some 16 persons are said to have died because of the waste, is still pending.
Added to Policy documents
* The European Commission will grant funds for €45 Millions for sustainability issues related to maritime research. The project concerns four issues: wind platforms, maritime ecosystems, the Mediterranean and Black Sea, management of protected maritime areas.
For further information see European Commission Press Release
Added to Policy documents
* Economic crisis said to have left ETS “thoroughly obsolete”
Since the economic crisis has cut down the level of industrial production, a UK research paper indicates that the Emission Trading System (ETS) is becoming obsolete. It is argued that companies are rolling over their own pollution permits in order to use them when it will be necessary, that is, in the period 2013-2020, the so called “second phase”. Some companies involved wish to obtain an adjustment of the ETS, taking into account the impact of the crisis. The Commission defends itself stating that “the ETS has undergone a fundamental reform as part of the 2008 climate and energy package and is on course to be even more effective on the future”. Meanwhile, green organizations are worried that “the ETS will not allow the EU to meet its international climate obligations in time”.
Added to Sector, Climate Change
* U.S protest European emission fee on flights
American, Canadian and Mexican airline companies are worried about the extending the EC ETS to aircraft flying to the EU. Although some of the airlines are complying with the new EU regime, there is a strong lobby pressure in order to reach a different agreement between the European Union and third countries. The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN body, is in favour of applying an emission trading system only if this was mutually agreed between the involved parties. Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for climate change, strongly responded: “the United States has demanded a veto right over what measures States can take to limit the climate impacts of aviation”.
For further information see International Herald Tribune, 10-09-2010
Sector, Climate change
Added to Upcoming events
* Interpol’s 7th International conference on environmental crime
Significant improvements have been reached in the fight against environmental crime but this is not enough. The Conference is promoted by Interpol to remind that environmental crime affects all of civil society. More specifically, it will deal with the financial support to fight environmental crime, the priorities to cope with, law enforcement and intelligence related aspects.
Location: Interpol General Secretariat, Lyon, France
Date: 14-15 September
* (Ant)ARCTIC Matters International Conference, experts selected specific issues on climate change
The two days of work will mainly deal with climate change and specifically economic and innovative developments, clean tech and smart mobility, corporate responsibility and urban sustainability, and evident climatology.
Location: Municipal House, Prague, Czech Republic
Date: 17-18 September 2010
* Talking about the environmental effects of industrial installations: the European Directive on Industrial Emissions
The Conference has been organized by ELNI, the Dutch and Flemish Environmental Law Associations. Topics to discuss will be the proposal for an Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) that includes also the IPPC directive (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) and its future impact on environment and human health; the simplification of the existing legislation and the possibility to cut unnecessary costs.
Location: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Date: 17-18 September
* Soil, climate change and biodiversity: where do we stand?
The Conference has been proposed by the Environment Directorate General and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Scientist and researchers shall discuss issues such as the amount of carbon stored in European soils, the role that agricultural and forestry can play in climate change and the important function that soil biodiversity plays in the ecosystem. Moreover, the study “Soil biodiversity: functions, threats and tools for policy makers” and the European Atlas of soil biodiversity will be presented.
Location: Charlemagne building of the European Commission, rue de la Loi 170, Bruxelles, Belgium
Date: 23-24 September 2010
* Illegal trade in natural resources. What can Brussels do?
The Conference is organized by the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES). It aims at understanding the phenomenon of the illegal market of natural resources. Some of the discussing points are the relationships between security and environment, the improvement of the fight against illegal trade, the introduction of concrete measures against it but above all the role that the European Union can play in this field.
Location: European Economic and Social Committee, room VM3, rue Van Maerlant 2, Brussels, Belgium
Date: 29-30 September
Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Jens Hamer (General Court of the European Union, Luxembourg)*
*All views expressed are entirely personal and can in no way be attributed to the CFI or ECJ
Marco Inglese (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
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