Added to Case Law, ECJ
* Case C-164/09 Commission v. Italy, judgment 11/11/2010 (not yet available in English)
The Court of Justice has declared that Italy has violated Directive 79/409/EEC on the protection and conservation of wild birds and as such fails to fulfill its obligations under the Treaty. The Veneto region enacted statutory provisions aiming to derogate the regime set out by article 9 of the directive by allowing the hunting of certain protected species of wild birds. The Court noted that every derogation to EU law must be interpreted narrowly and truly justified.
Added to Case Law, ECHR
* Application 12050/04 Mangouras v. Spain, Grand Chamber judgment 28/09/2010
After the disaster of the oil tanker Prestige, criminal investigation was opened and the captain was remanded in custody with the possibility of release on bail of three million euros.
The bail was paid by the insurance company of the oil tanker. Relying on Article 5 § 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights(right to liberty and security), the applicant alleged in particular, that the sum set for bail in his case had been excessive and had been fixed without his personal circumstances being taken into consideration.
Interestingly the Strasbourg Court took into account the EU law regime on environmental protection through criminal law. It concluded that the bail was not disproportionate since several aspects must be taken into account, i.e.the “professional environment” of the accused, his relationship with the Spanish territory and the concrete possibility to be brought again before the Court.
Added to legislation
* Ecodesign rules on appliances
Energy efficiency standards and other environmental issues have been incorporated into two new regulations on washing machines and dishwashers which will be marketed from 2011 on.The main aspects common to both acts are the concerns about water and electricity consumption. These criteria will also be applied to other technical equipment like televisions, fridges and freezers. By the end of this year the Commission is expected to issue similar rules on air conditioning, monitors and computers. It should be noted that the legislation has been issued by means of the comitology procedure as modified by the Lisbon treaty, that is, by Commission consultations and without the prior approval of Member States.
* EU regulation on carbon auctioning
This regulation introduces a unique auctioning platform for the third period of the emission trading system, starting from 2012. Auctioning is considered the most efficient tool to trade allowances. It should be based on a clear and predictable mechanism easily understandable to all market operators, which include small and medium undertakings. Even though the aim is to set up a European harmonized market, Member States are allowed to opt out in order to establish pure domestic auctioning platforms provided that the Commission has a general power to control them.
See also the regulation
Added to Policy documents
* Achievements reached by candidate States
In the annual package on enlargement, the Commission has listed how candidate States are integrating the environmental acquis communautaire. As a member of the European Economic Area Iceland should not have problems implementing the aquis, only small adjustments will be required to comply with the environmental liability directive. Croatia is full in line with the program while Macedonia has not yet implemented rules on climate change and water policy. Turkey has achieved good results on waste management but has to enact legislation on air and water quality, climate change and industrial pollution.
See also Commission enlargement strategy
* EU environmental economic account plans
The European Union is going to have a harmonized framework for environmental account. Under the current system all the information is provided by the Member States; the Commission has already presented the plan in a policy paper published last year. The environment committee approved the Commission’s draft regulation, which covers energy, water, forestry and ecosystems. Soil and biodiversity have been excluded.
Added to sector Climate Change
* CO2 target for vans
By 2020 CO2 emissions from vans have to be lowered to 155 grams per kilometer. The Commission proposed a higher threshold but Member States were not able to agree on that limit. Moreover, Member States obtained lower penalties for automakers which do not comply with the rules on emissions.
See also Commission’s page on light vehicles
* Difficult to reach 2050 target
A study issued by WWF and Ecofys shows that the 2050 target is unlikely to be achieved. According to the strategy, greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 80-95%. Even the best performing countries –Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Denmark- are not in line with the program. The reason is a generally poor implementation of EU law: while renewable energies measures are in force, energy efficiency, transport and industries are still at a lower level. The performance of Poland, Finland, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece is worrying. The Commission is expected to launch a new and complete roadmap by 2012.
* ETS allowances
The draft proposal on benchmark rules on allowances has been blocked by some Member States. The benchmarks are based on the period 2007-2008. The Commission wants an increased efficiency of 15% for industrial installations while Member States agreed on a maximum rate at 10%.
Added to sector Chemical
* Recasting RoHS priority list
The Parliament has dropped the call for a list to be inserted in the rules for hazardous substances in electronic (RoHS) after it claimed for its extension in June. Green groups want such a list included in the recast regulation.
See also Orgalime position paper
Added to sector General
* Funding for CCS
The Commission launched a competition for funding the construction of carbon capture and storage plants (CCS). Interestingly, money comes from the emissions trading market. The overall amount of funding should allow the construction of eight plants, with the capacity to capture 85% more CO2.
See also Commission decision
* Commission started infringement procedures
The Commission has started 17 infringement procedures against several Member State for failure to fulfill environmental obligations. Poland did not comply with the Habitat Directive. The Commission did not grant an extension period under the Quality Air Directive asked by Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Final warnings have been issued with regard to Luxembourg, Portugal, Ireland and the Czech Republic in order to respect prior ECJ rulings; now they risk high fines.
* Survey on European and biotechnology
A new Eurobarometer survey shows the attitude of European citizens towards biotechnologies. For instance, there is an increasing approval on biofuels. This is quite surprising because for many years they have been heavily criticized. However Friends of Earth revealed that people were not told about its negative effect on climate change. On the contrary, citizens still distrust GMOs and the percentage has increased since the last survey. Very positive answers have been given on wind energy and solar power.
See also the survey
* European resources efficiency
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) warned that Europe is consuming more resources than it has. The study considers the European Union, the Balkan and Turkey. The Agency also suggests considering these data in order to modify the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Good news comes from the protection of biodiversity and the general level of air and water pollution. Anyway, the European Union will miss the 2010 target on biodiversity.
See also EEA report
Added to sector Energy
* State aid in coal sector
The economic committee of the European Parliament called upon the Commission to prolong state aid in the coal sector until 2018 since the old regulation will expire next month. The industrial committee agrees and wishes a time extension until 2020. The Greens invoke Commission resistance. In this field the Parliament can only play a consultative role. Meanwhile, a study of the International Energy Agency has showed that in the last year subsidies for fossil fuels have been 10 times higher than for renewable sources.
* Strategy for 2020
The Commission lists again targets to be achieved by 2020 -energy efficiency, an integrated European market, security of supply, climate change and affordable energy- but proposes few new actions. One is the introduction of an energy criterion on public procurement. The strategy to reduce oil consumption on transport is postponed to a future white paper.
Added to sector Nature and Agriculture
* Commission against Council on GMOs
The Commission rejected a Council opinion concerning the proposal on the market of GMOs. In its opinion, the Council argued that the proposal put forward by the Commission has a wrong legal basis and does not comply with WTO rules. The Parliament seems to agree with the Council since the proposal does not contain reference to health and environment. Nevertheless, Health Commissioner John Dalli stated that the reasons to ban might encompass socio economic criteria, as a preference for organic production.
The following national pages have been updated: Italy, Poland, Portugal
* Italy could be fined again for the waste crisis
The waste crisis in the region of Campania could lead Italy to be fined. Despite the fact Commissioner Janez Potocnik already warned Italy, measures to comply with the ECJ ruling of 4 March 2010 are not yet in force thus the Italian State has not fulfilled its obligations stemming from EU law. The only solution is to enact a new waste management plan.
* Portugal’s plan on carbon emissions
Portugal has approved a plan to lower carbon emissions within the period 2013-2020. The roadmap does not yet specify whether the reductions should be set at 20% or 30%.A government spokesman has said that the authority is assessing every possible scenario in order to decide which to include.
See also government press release (available in Portuguese)
Added to Upcoming Events
*Environmental Change and Migration: from Vulnerabilities to Capabilities
The conference aims at analyzing the complex topic of the relationship between climate change and migration in a multidisciplinary way.
Location: Bad Salzuflen, Germany
Date: 5-9 December 2010
* Greenage Symposium
The symposium is aimed at raising environmental consciousness among individuals. Main topics shall be: global warming and climate change, ecocities, EU green policy, certificate systems, ecological architecture, green technologies.
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Date: 6-8 December 2010
Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco Inglese (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
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