Added to Case Law, ECJ
In a preliminary ruling referred to the European Court of Justice ( ECJ) by the Conseil d’État (Council of State of the Kingdom of Belgium), the Court ruled that programs adopted under directive 91/676/EEC on the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources require a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in accordance with directive 2001/42/EC. The Belgian court requested the preliminary ruling following lawsuits by the local environmental groups Terre Wallonie and Inter-Environnement Wallonie who claimed that the Walloon government was in breach of directive 2001/42/EC by not requiring a SEA for the management of nitrogen in agriculture. A SEA would require the authorities to asses all environmental impacts related to nitrogen use as opposed to only assessing water pollution as required under directive 91/676/EEC. The Walloon government argued that the latter assessment was sufficient since nitrogen management programs did not fall under the scope of the SEA directive. The Court ruled that such programs are subject to the SEA directive.
Added to Sectors, General
Following the publication of 19 May 2010 in the EU official journal, directive 2010/30/EU on the indication by labelling and standards product information of the consumption of energy and other resources has entered into force. Furthermore, directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings will enter into force on 8 July. Both directives were formally adopted in May 2010. The revised energy labelling directive extended its scope to energy using products in the commercial and industrial sector. The directive will have to be transposed by the Member States into national law by 20 June 2011. The implementation of the building directive will take place in several stages. A first transposition deadline has been set for 9 July 2012. The law must be fully implemented by 9 July 2013. By 2020, new buildings should meet the ‘nearly zero-energy’ target which means that any energy that the buildings use should for a very large extent come from renewable sources generated either on site or nearby.
Added to Sectors, Air
The European Council and Parliament have reached an agreement on the new Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) which is designed for the protection of air, water and soil and for the improvement of energy and resource efficiency from industrial installations. The agreement is supposed to lead to a new law which will incorporate the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) and six other pollution laws. The revision of the IPPC directive has received heavy criticism from green group EEB who pointed out several controversial provisions concerning that law. It referred to the large combustion plants (LCP’s) provisions that require compliance by 2020 which is one year later than the parliament had demanded. EEB also condemned the decision of granting limited lifetime derogation to LCP’s operating less than 175000 hours while the environment committee had requested it to be set at 12500 hours. Another controversial aspect concerns proposals for deviating from the applying best available techniques (BAT) and instead implying stricter conditions. The agreement will require formal adoption by the Parliament’s full assembly and the Council of Ministers before entering into force.
Added to Sectors, Chemicals
Following a unanimous agreement by the member state’s committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), eight chemical substances have been added to the Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). The inclusion of the chemicals was proposed by Denmark, France and Germany earlier this year and includes trichloroethylene, sodium chromate, boric acid and potassium chromate. The candidate list now contains 38 substances which are still subject to procedures that will determine whether the substances will be included in the authorization list. Nevertheless, companies that use any substance included in the candidate list of SVCH are subject to legal obligations. The ECHA therefore advises the companies to take note of the newly added substances in order to avoid legal consequences.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have agreed to explore a joint climate finance initiative through which the EU will provide financial aid to developing countries in order to help them adapt to and mitigate climate change. The joint initiative could be operational by 2012 and is part of the EU’s commitment made at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen last December where the EU pledged to make $100bn US dollars available to developed countries by 2020. The initiative will first require an approval by the members of the parliament regarding the commission’s proposal to increase the ceiling on EIB lending outside the EU by €2bn to be spent on climate change. The commission and the EIB are also finalizing an inter-institutional agreement on the implementation of the NER 300 initiative. Under this initiative, 300 million emission allowances from the New Entrants Reserve of the EU Emissions Trading System will be sold in order to raise funding for projects related with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies. Furthermore, the commission and the EIB are also consideringinvesting the unspent EU economic recovery funds in regional sustainable energy projects.
The Slovenian government has approved a draft law concerning rules for nuclear damage liability. The draft law expands the definition of nuclear damage to include economic and environmental damages, loss of income and prevention measures. Claims for compensation in respect of loss of life and physical injury can now be made within 30 years from the day of a nuclear accident as opposed to 10 years as currently foreseen by existing legislation.
Added to Sectors, Water
The European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative resolution on a new impetus for the strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture. The resolution is the parliament’s response to a commission policy paper from last year which urged the EU to encourage the growth of its aquasector while ensuring a high level of environmental protection. The resolution suggest several means to achieve the objective of the policy paper by for example suggesting the requirment of ecolabelling fishery and other aquaculture products. This will create transparancy in the market which currently includes many private certificates and will therefore give the EU a competitive advantage. The resolution also calls for a single text combining all rules concerning the aquaculture sector, a harmonised environmental impact criteria and commitment to fund sustainable fish farms through the future European Fisheries Fund. The members of the parliament concluded that the aquaculture sector requires investment, long-term planning and clear and stable rules as provided in the resolution. They have therefore called on the Commission to consolidate all EU legislation on this sector.
The energy minister of Ireland has announced its 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round whereby oil and gas exploration companies have been invited to apply for new authorizations in its Atlantic Margin. This licensing round is different from previous rounds since it opens up Ireland’s entire Atlantic margin as opposed to specific blocks. The margin now covers over a quarter of a million square kilometers and is the largest offshore licensing round ever. Companies are allowed to drill for oil at depths up to 3000 meters. The licensing round is heavily criticized by green group WWF who is calling for a suspension of all Arctic drillings. Although the Arctic countries have recently revised their Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) guidelines, the WWF is currently updating a study of the oil spill response gap in order to show that the current technology is incapable of effectively cleaning up oil spills in ice covered waters. The United States and Norway have indicated to put drilling in the Arctic on hold until the investigation into the BP disaster is over.
Irish press release:
Added to Upcoming Events
This two day conference will focus on the ways in which subsidy removal and environmental fiscal reform can serve as effective tools to address the current economic, social and environmental crisis. The objective is to help improve the future mainstreaming of green budget reform trough the findings of the conference.
Date: 8 July – 9 July 2010
Location: Andrassy University Budapest
This Biogas Regions seminar is hosted by the European Bioenergy Conference and RENEXPO Bioenergy EUROPE and is organized by the European Biomass Association AEBIOM and REECO Group. The seminar focuses on the mobilization of positive synergies between the different sectors (local authorities, farmers and food processing industries) and their concrete project implication in order to overcome the obstacles and create a biogas friendly environment. For this purpose, the following program has been set: a session on the EU regulatory frame and potential of the biogas production, a session on how biogas could benefit to the agricultural and the agri-food industry sectors and a session dedicated to the biogas from the strategy to the concrete implementation at regional level.
Date: 30 June – 1 July 2010
Location: Albert Hall Complex, Brussels, Beligum
Added to Vacancies
The building automation and controls association Eu.bac, is active in the fields of European standardization and advocacy towards politics in Europe and EU member countries. Eu.ESCO, a specialized working group of eu.bac, is promoting Energy Performance Contracting which is a financing and service tool to facilitate investments in energy efficiency of buildings. To strengthen their promotion and advocacy capabilities in Brussels, ESCO is seeking a dynamic and pro-active director for its governmental relations. Potential candidates must have knowledge of energy sufficiency and European legislation.
Deadline: Not provided. Posted on 22 June 2010
EMBL is an international organization dedicated to basic research in the molecular life sciences, is seeking a legal adviser. The post holder has the responsibility to protect the interests of the Organization in all legal matters and provide support in institutional matters, in questions related to the Organization’s international status, contracts, litigation, intellectual property and various other legal issues.
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Deadline: 18 July 2010
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 General Court or ECJ
Leonardo Massai (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Iram Velji (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
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