EEL News Service 2010/14, 29 October 2010

Added to Case Law, ECJ

* Case C-524/09 Ville de Lyon, Opinion AG Kokott, 14/10/2010 (not yet available in English)

The preliminary ruling is asked by the Administrative Tribunal of Paris in order to ascertain whether information related to the emission trading system, under directive 2003/87, is “environment information”,  in the sense of directive 2003/4. That would entail a full right of access for anyone and a related obligation to disclose for the body, irrespective public or private, who keep registries. AG Kokott proposes to interpret ETS trade information as non environmental information. This interpretation leads to a narrower obligation of disclosure since, according to annex XVI of the regulation 2216/2004, that kind of information can become public only after a deadline of 5 years.

Sector, General


Added to Dossiers, General

* Euroopa keskkonnaõigus pärast Lissaboni: sissejuhatus (European Environmental Law after Lisbon, an Introduction; Estonian version)

This updated dossier includes the changes that the LisbonTreaty brought about in the field of European environmental law. The introduction also describes the changes that previous Treaties (notably the Single European Act, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice) brought about. Also, some information on EU law regarding the free movement of goods and protection of the environment, and on environmental case law is provided in this introduction. More language versions will follow in the near future.



Added to Policy documents

* IEA promotes energy efficiency

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that many governments did not achieve good standard of energy efficiency due to lack of know-how and technical capacity. If States follow IEA recommendations, up to 8.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide per year could be saved. First steps to comply with are those regarding lightning equipments and appliances; further reports will analyze building and industry energy performance.

See also IEA press release and IEA report

Sector: Energy


* The Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

The Council has approved the Protocol on ICZM. The procedure has its legal basis in articles 192(1) and 218(6)(a) TFEU. The parties, as indicated in the Barcelona Convention, considering that the Mediterranean Sea is subject to environmental pressure and coasts degradation, commit themselves to promote an integrated system of control of the concerned zones. By establishing the proper levels of public or private administrations, the final aim is to ensure the sustainable development of the Mediterranean coastal zones.

See also Council decision

Sector: General


* Does the EU need a single legislation for offshore activities?

The Commission delivered a communication stating that Europe should have a single legislation for offshore gas and oil activities since they are regulated only by national laws. The Commission proposes a “more coherent legal framework for offshore exploration and production activities in Europe that ensures EU-wide application of state-of-the-art practices”; this will finally led to the creation of a level playing field in this strategic sector. Moreover, the Commission urges amendments to the environmental liability directive in order to cover also maritime damages.

See also Commission’s press release and the communication

Sector: General, Water, Energy


* New rules on Eurovignette

The Council reached an agreement in order to modify present rules on the Eurovignette. The new legislation could permit extra charges for congestion at peak times.  Lower tariffs are allowed at off peak hours. Ireland, Portugal and Finland complained because the average price of shipping goods will increase. The European Parliament has proposed a charge on congestion equal to that on air and noise pollution; eco friendly trucks would be exempted until 2017.

See also Council press release, Green’s reaction, Eurovignette map and Eurovignette directive

Sector: General


* Commission’s reaction to waste crisis in Naples

Mr. Janez Potocnik, Environment Commissioner, said that the Commission is considering actions against Italy due to the new waste crisis in the region of Campania. Since the situation is really similar to what happened in 2007, the Commission is going to start again an infringement procedure against Italy because Campania still does not have a waste management plan and the only incinerator does not work properly. If the matter will be brought before the European Court of Justice, Italy could  be forced to pay huge fines.

See also Commission press release



Added to sector Chemical


* Mercury ban

A new study conducted by the Bio Intelligence Service suggests Europe to ban mercury, both in its pure form and its compound. Exceptions would be allowed only for medical use when no other solutions are available. However, the agency warns that similar measures should be taken also by third countries.

See also Commission page on mercury and the study


* New definition for nanomaterials

After a Parliament request, the Commission is carrying out consultations for a final definition of nanomaterials. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) defines them according to dimensions and surface. Consumer associations BEUC and ANEC have supported the idea of the Belgian presidency to prepare an initiative on the traceability of nanomaterials.

See also Commission consultation and BEUC/ANEC nanoproduct inventory



Added to sector Climate Change

* New aviation agreement on climate change

At the 37th conference of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) governments have reached an agreement on climate change. There will be a cap  on greenhouse gas emissions and a new level for the improvement of fuel efficiency. Governments will submit an action plan to explain their strategy but emitters of less than 1% of international traffic will be exempted. Connie Hedegaard, Climate Commissioner, said that the agreement “is not as ambitious as Europe thinks it should be”.  Aviation is included within the emission trading system of the EU.

See also ICAO press release and Commission’s memo


* Technologies will drop industry’ emissions

A report issued by the Dutch institute for Climate Action Network shows that new technologies will help to drop industry’s emissions. The study focuses on three sectors: cement, paper and steel, and holds that emissions could be reduced at least 80% by 2050. However, these new technologies will be available only starting from 2020-2030.

See also CAN Europe summary and CE Delft report


* EEA expresses doubts about Austria, Denmark and Italy

The European Environment Agency (EEA) says that Denmark and Italy have to achieve more CO2 cuts outside the Emission Trading System (ETS) or buy more carbon credits, otherwise they risk to not comply with the Kyoto Protocol. EEA extends concerns to Austria as well. A Commission separate study shows that Denmark can easily fix its gap, while Italy has a gap of 1.5% and Austria of 8.7%.

See also EEA study and Commission report


* New rules to prevent fraud in ETS

Anti-fraud measures on ETS entered into force on 15 October 2010, in order to give new powers to national administrators, ( refuse opening a new account,  suspend or close it). Moreover, information will be shared by law enforcement agencies. The regulation also sets out the creation of a new EU registry starting from 2012.

See also regulation on the security of registries


* EU and the Arctic region

Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for fisheries and maritime affairs, strongly believes that the EU can play a strategic role in the Arctic. Denmark, Sweden and Finland possess territories in that zone; Iceland and Norway are part of the European Economic Area; Russia, Canada and US are amongst the biggest commercial partner of the EU. Ms Damanaki said also that all the economic activities carried out in the Arctic must respect the environmental concerns that the particular situation of the area raises.

See also EU and Arctic


* New ETS emission CAP for 2013

The Commission has imposed new cap limits on greenhouse gas for installations that will join the ETS in 2013. Notably, activities involved deal with organic chemicals, hydrogen and aluminium. The Commission is going to propose a new cap system for aviation.

See also Commission press release


* Lobby between Europe and US against agreement on climate change

Some of the biggest European emitters have supported US senators in order to block climate change legislation. From the available data it emerges that EU companies have financed those US senators through donations to campaign denying the adverse effect of climate change. Some of the companies are advocating in the EU against higher EU targets because the USA would not be willing to take action as well.

See also CAN report


Added to sector Energy

* Europe will upgrade electricity grids

The Commission foresees that upgrading electricity grids will cost €1 trn by 2020. The operation is necessary since most of them not only are old but need to be expanded and strengthened. Moreover, the upgrade will be in line with the 5 objectives EU has to reach by 2020: efficiency, integrated market, security, international and european leadership. Nowadays problems are represented by a fragmented internal market and slow progresses in the sector of renewable energies. The Commission plan will also include measures for transport and constructions.

See also Commission’s strategy


Added to Sector Nature


* UN biodiversity summit in Nagoya

All the States parties to the UN Convention on biological diversity are represented at the summit in Nagoya. Its fundamental aim is to launch an action plan for the period 2011-2020. Moreover, parties have to reach an agreement in order to issue a protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) dealing with the exploitation of genetic resources. Another important topic to tackle is the reduction of biodiversity caused by humans. The Nagoya summit also foresees the presence of mayors from all over the world to adopt biodiversity plans in urban environment. Only 5 Heads of State are expected, unfortunately..

See also Nagoya Summit


* Nagoya Biodiversity Conference requires ambitious target

The European Parliament urges the Commission and the Member States to show leadership at the UN Nagoya Conference on biological diversity. The EP indicates a series of goal that must be proposed and achieved, like the elimination of subsiies harmful to biodiversity, the end of destructive fishing practices and the protection of land.

See also EP press release, EU biodiversity action plan and the Nagoya convention


* No new funds for biodiversity

Environment ministries said that the EU will not be able to increase funds to protect biodiversity. At the Nagoya summit, delegates should agree on a future mobilization of funds. EU concerns are related to the possible inability of developing countries to properly spend the given resources. Moreover, EU ministries showed their willingness to agree on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol provided that, Commissioner Hedegaard said, other major economies do so as well.

See also Environment Council press release, Council conclusion on Nagoya conference and preparation for the conference in Cancun



Added to sectors Nature and Agriculture

*Proposal for reforming the CAP

The Commission is going to propose a modification of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) by introducing mandatory green requirements such as permanent pasture, green cover and crop rotation. In particular, farmers will have to comply with them to get CAP payments. Once new rules will come into force they will be added to the cross compliance scheme. Environmental association expressed concerns because the Commission did not propose a specific tool to tackle climate change and/or biodiversity loss.

See also Commission’s communication, EEB comment on proposed reform, Country Land & Business Association


* Council challenges Commission’s proposal on GMO’s

The Council challenged the Commission’s proposal on GMO on the ground that it allowed Member States to ban GM for socio-economic reasons. Indeed, the regulation proposed by the Commission does not provide for environmental and health exceptions – these are already included in Directive 2001/18- but for other, not well defined, reasons. John Dali, Health Commissioner, said that the Commission will not add a list of grounds for derogation.

See also Environment Ministry agenda, directive 2001/18 on GMO’s and proposal 2010/208 COD



Added to Sector Waste

* NGOs warn about radioactive waste

WWF Spain and Greenpeace said that the company that polluted Andalucian marshlands by dumping radioactive waste, is failing to clean up the site. Spanish court imposed to start the regeneration of the area and to deposit € 21.4 million to cover the cost, but the company did not comply with this order.

See also WWF Spain and Greenpeace Spain



The following national pages have been updated: Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, UK


* Waste management in Germany

German plan to transpose the Framework directive 2008/98 on waste management fails to comply with the EU waste hierarchy. According to The Federation of German Waste, Water and Raw Material Management (BDE) the controversial point is putting on the same level waste incineration and recycling. Member States must submit their plan to the Commission by 12 December 2010.

See also framework directive on waste and the German plan(in German)


* Hungary takes control of MAL Company

Hungarian Parliament has passed a law to obtain State control over MAL, the firm responsible for the toxic red mud. The Government appointed a special commissioner to deal with the situation while the former director is still detainee. He steadily affirms that the firm followed all the rules for that activity. Meanwhile, some red mud reached the Danube; nevertheless authorities said that toxicity has been neutralized. Moreover, a second dam has been built up near to the plant’s reservoir.

See also Government website on red sludge and MAL statement


* New ranking on the sustainability of Italian cities

The annual report of Legambiente shows the sustainability of Italian provincial cities. Several parameters are taken into account: urban transport, pro capita green, water management, air quality, renewable sources and waste recycling. Central and northern cities are at the top of the ranking, for instance Belluno (1), Verbania (2), Trento (3), Bolzano (4), Bologna (9). Biggest cities face severe problems like Roma (75), Torino (74), Milano (63). The worst situation is for southern cities like Napoli (96), Palermo (101) and Catania (103). However, small southern cities are going up thanks to strong policies for recycling like for instance Salerno (19) and Avellino (29).

See also the ranking


* ENDS interviewed Marta Moren, head of water resources of the Spanish environment ministry

Spain is suffering severe delay in implementing river basin management plans and to improve the wastewater treatment. Spanish authorities would request more time to draw good plans and to avoid the matter brought before the European Court of Justice.

See also ENDS


* Illegal waste export from UK to Africa

An investigation started in 2008 and concluded in 2010 resulted in 9 people charged of criminal offences due to illegal electric waste export to Africa under UK law and the EU waste shipment regulation. The company involved used to dump electric waste to avoid the payment of huge fees.

See also the news


Added to Upcoming events


* Climate Finance 2010 including the 10th Annual Carbon Finance Conference

The Conference will provide an overview of the carbon market and of financial issues related to climate. There will be seven panel and a roundtable for exerts discussions. Selected topics are: UN climate negotiations in Cancun, climate change finance, carbon market, green bonds, private investment to tackle climate change, EU emission trading system, US carbon market.

Location: America Square Conference Centre, London, UK

Date: 9-10 November


Added to Vacancies


* Vacancy at the Asser Institute

The T.M.C. Asser Institute in The Hague, has a vacancy for a junior research in EU law. You will conduct doctoral research as part of CLEER –Centre for the Law of EU External Relations- and specialise in the external dimension of one of the internal market areas of EU law, for instance pertaining to free movement rights, environment, climate change, etc.

See also T.M.C. Asser Institute


*Senior and junior positions available at DG Energy

The Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators is searching new candidates to employ in the energy sector.

See also DG Energy



Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)



Leonardo Massai

Marco Inglese (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)


Technical realisation

Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)




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