Added to Case Law, ECJ
Case C‑440/05, Commission v. Council
ECJ 23-10-2007, nyr
The European Court of Justice annulled Council Framework Decision 2005/667/JHA. This law specified criminal penalties in conjunction with Directive 2005/35/EC against ship-source pollution. It was adopted on the basis of Title VI of the EU Treaty provisions, i.e. based on the “Third Pillar” competence on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The ECJ decided that it should have been based on the EC Treaty, as a regular “First Pillar” competence, because the rules of the Framework Decision essentially aim at improving maritime safety, as well as environmental protection, and could have been validly adopted on the basis of Article 80(2) EC Treaty. In this respect, this judgement follows the earlier ECJ judgement in the case C-176/03, Commission v. Council.
A very important new element of this case is that at the same time, the Court made clear that “the determination of the type and level of criminal sanctions does not fall within the Community sphere of competence”. In other words, a new law can be adopted regulating certain aspects of the punishment of ship-source pollution based on the EC Treaty, but such an EC directive can only require the Member States to introduce “effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties” in order to ensure that the rules which it lays down in that field are fully effective. Determining specific minimum and maximum fines and imprisonment sentences are matters that need to be left to the member states, according to the ECJ.
Added to Legal texts, Reform Treaty
The draft of the EU Reform Treaty presented on 5 October 2007 in Lisbon and adopted at the meeting of the EU Heads of State and Government of 18 and 19 October 2007 contains an amendment on the title on environmental protection, namely a reference on the importance of “combating climate change” added to Article 174 TEC.
Added to Sectors, General
* EEA presents report on pan-European environment (Report No 1/2007)
On 10 October 2007, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report entitled “Europe’s environment — The fourth assessment”. This document provides an assessment of the main environmental challenges in fifty-six countries across Europe (Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, South East Europe, and Western and Central Europe). The report includes a few recommendations on the most alarming problems in the region, namely climate change, water supply, marine environment and air pollution.
Added to Sectors, Air
* MEPs amend draft Air Quality Directive
The European Parliament at second reading has amended the Council’s common position proposing a more severe version of the newly proposed air quality directive (COM(2005) 447). The recommendation adopted by the Parliament’s Environmental Committee on 9 October 2007 proposes lower levels for PM10 and PM2.5 concentrates. At the same time, the amended text allows for a few derogations: a three-year exemption could be requested on grounds of specific circumstances and further two years for PM2.5 and PM10 emissions only.
Added to Sectors, Chemicals
* Parliament tightens control of pesticides
At first reading, the European Parliament has strengthened the text of the proposed draft Framework Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides (COM(2006) 373). The document, approved on 23 October 2007, recalling the observance of the precautionary principle, calls for new substances to be added to the list of banned products and expands the areas where pesticide use should be reduced or eliminated.
Added to Sectors, Transport
On 10 October 2007, the European Commission has presented two proposals, which are expected to enhance the use of carbon emission-free hydrogen cars. The first would create the “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative”, a public-private partnership for research on hydrogen technologies. The second proposal (COM(2007) 593) introduces hydrogen cars in the EU vehicle type-approval system in order to simplify their approval.
Added to Sectors, Water
As a follow-up of a green paper (COM(2006)275) adopted by the European Commission in June 2006 and following a one-year consultation, on 10 October 2007, the Commission presented communication COM(2007)575 for an integrated EU maritime policy. The communication was prepared with the double aim of protecting the marine environment as well as improving the maritime industry and aims to tackle problems such as over fishing, ship pollution or the decreasing of work power.
Added to Sectors, Waste
* Commission takes environmental legal actions against Member States
On 17 October 2007, the European Commission decided to step up against a significant number of Member States for non-compliance with either ECJ judgments or Community measures in the field of environmental protection. Most of the Commission’s actions concern waste: Bulgaria is in breach of EC law for grounds of inadequate household waste management infrastructure. Eight other member states were referred to the ECJ because of their failure to fully implement the EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) (2002/96/EC). Luxembourg has received its second written warning and will face legal proceedings if it does not implement the ECJ judgment on urban waste water treatment of 23 November 2006 (Case C-452/05). The United Kingdom has received the first written warning concerning the same issue (Case C-405/05).
On different issues, two legal actions initiated by the Commission concern wild birds: Malta infringed EC law by allowing the hunting of a few protected species, while Romania failed to designate Special Protected Areas for their protection.
France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and the UK received their first written warning for exceeding limit values for sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels set under Directive 1999/30/EC. In connection with the Seveso-II Directive, twelve Member States were sent a final written warning for failing to adopt emergency plans for chemical plants.
Added to Sectors, General, Dossiers
An article has been added in the section Dossiers, under Waste. The “State of the Law in Europe on Generator Liability: Waste Stewardship in a Complex System” by Randy M. Mott reviews all the major national laws in the EU that relate to waste producer liability.
Two papers were added under the title Environmental Liability. The “Study of Civil Liability Systems for Remedying Environmental Damages”, prepared by the Environmental Law Group of CMS Cameron McKenna, analyses the liability system of 18 European countries and the United States. An update of this paper (2001), entitled “Update Comparative Legal Study”, prepared by Chris Clarke, provides a more recent overview.
Notably the following recent information was introduced:
Added to National pages, Austria
* Austrian air quality is yet to comply with EU standards
On 15 October 2007, Austria’s environment assessment agency has released a report on national air pollution conditions in 2006. This assessment highlights the continuing difficulties for Austrian authorities to ensure the correct implementation of EU norms as it points out that fine particles as well as nitrogen dioxide emission limits were often exceeded.
Added to National pages, France
* France approves projects to reduce CO2
On 12 October 2007, the French government has approved three projects aimed at the reduction of CO2 emissions. They concern methane capture, HFC reductions and energy savings and are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by five million tonnes in the period between 2008 and 2012.
Added to National Pages, Netherlands
* The Netherlands adopts New Air Quality Law
On 11 October 2007, the upper chamber of the Dutch Parliament has approved a new and comprehensive law on air quality. This law aims to overcome the implementation problems faced by the Netherlands in respect of EU legislation on air quality norms. In particular, it focuses on emissions of air pollutants which exceed the EU target values and puts a particular emphasis on actions at the local level.
Added to National pages, Portugal
* Commission decides on Portuguese NAP II
Portugal was the last EU Member State to receive the European Commission decision on its National Allocation Plan (NAP) for 2008-2012 under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. On 22 October 2007, the Commission reduced the carbon dioxide allowances of Portugal by 1.08m tonnes; thus requiring Portugal to amend its NAP by a 3.1% cut of CO2 emissions.
News and events
Added to Events
* Towards a post carbon society
The conference will give an in-sight to the Social Sciences and Humanities perspective of the scientific and technology initiatives aiming to achieve the EU greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and renewable targets, adopted by the Spring 2007 European Council.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Date: 24 October 2007
* Fifth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity
The Trondheim Conferences on Biodiversity have since 1993 provided an opportunity for policy makers, managers and scientists to have an open and constructive dialogue on key issues being discussed under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Date: 29 October – 2 December 2007
* Twentieth World Energy Congress
The main topic of the congress is “The Energy Future in an Interdependent World”. It will focus on social issues that developing and emerging countries face in relation to the international energy market and on sustainable progress for industrialized countries.
Location: Rome, Italy
Date: 11-15 November 2007
Added to Job Postings
* Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – Clean Energy Specialists
The Inter-American Development Bank is looking for motivated individuals to join a group of energy and environmental specialists to work in a bank wide initiative (Sustainable Energy Climate Change Initiative, SECCI), which is IDB’s contribution to the new international clean energy investment framework.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Deadline: 26 October 2007
* United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Deputy Director (D-1)
Under the supervision and delegated authority of the Director of DEPI (Division of Environmental Policy Implementation), the deputy director will be entrusted among others with developing and recommending strategies and policies for the implementation of the DEPI programme of work, coordinating the preparation of the DEPI biennium programme of work and budget and performing representative functions.
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Deadline: 30 October 2007
* United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Senior Programme Officer
The UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific is seeking a Senior Programme Officer to oversee the implementation of the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative in the Asia & Pacific region, coordinate the delivery of UNEP’s contributions to the One UN initiative at the country and the (sub) regional level and provide strategic and policy guidance on environmental issues to UN Country teams.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Deadline: 31 October 2007
* Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – Forestry Officer (P-4)
The successful candidate will be responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing the trade and marketing programme of the Forestry Department of FAO.
Location: Rome, Italy
Deadline: 1 November 2007
* WWF – Programme Manager
The WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme is seeking a high calibre candidate for a temporary position to manage and coordinate a diverse team of programme officers.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Deadline: 2 November 2007
Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Jens Hamer (Academy of European Law, Trier)
Leonardo Massai (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marianna Kondas (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)