EEL News Service 2004/19, 28 October 2004

Added to the Case law page:

* C-1/03 Van de Walle and Others (Texaco)

ECJ 7 September 2004, nyr

The soil contaminated by fuels accidentally leaking from underground tanks at a Texaco filling station in Brussels should be regarded as waste under the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC, despite the fact that the soil was not excavated or disturbed. The company should be seen as the holder of the waste and thus responsible for its treatment because it produced the fuels. The question remains whether all contaminated land should now be classed as landfill and be subject to strict EU landfill rules. The judgment adds to the definition of waste and could have major consequences for the law governing contaminated soil.

* C-113/02 Commission v Netherlands

ECJ 14 October 2004, nyr

Dutch restrictions on trade in waste for recovery have been condemned by the ECJ. The rules are encouraging objections against proposed shipments where the percentage of waste recoverable in the EU state of destination is lower than that in the state of dispatch. The Commission argued that the Netherlands had essentially maintained an earlier requirement, previously struck down by the ECJ, that treatment abroad had to be more effective than at home. The Court ruled that such requirement essentially introduces the self-sufficiency and proximity principles into decision making, which it itself ruled illegal in 1998 in cases of waste shipped for recovery rather than disposal (C-203/96 Dusseldorp and C-192/96 Beside). Moreover, EU law specifies three criteria that have to be met before authorities can decide that a shipment is not justified. The Dutch rules are in any case illegal because they refer only to one of these – the ratio of recoverable and non-recoverable waste – and not to the other two – the value of materials to be recovered and the cost of disposal of the non-recoverable fraction.

* C-143/03 Commission v Italy

ECJ 14 October 2004, nyr, not yet available in English

The ECJ has condemned as an illegal trade barrier a 1997 Italian decree requiring common consumer batteries containing less than 0.0005% mercury to carry labels indicating the presence of heavy metals. Under the Batteries Directive 91/157/EEC alkaline manganese batteries containing over 0.0005% mercury are outlawed from January 2000. The ECJ stated that the directive does not apply to alkaline manganese batteries with under 0.0005% mercury. Italian pleas that the labelling requirement did not, in practice, constitute a barrier to free movement of goods, were rejected.

* C-431/02 Commission v United Kingdom

ECJ 12 October 2004, nyr

The ECJ has condemned the UK for a series of failures to implement the hazardous waste Directive 91/689/EEC. In 2002, before the case began, the UK admitted the breaches and promised to rectify them. It has still not done so on practice. However, on the one issue defended by the UK, concerning packaging and labelling of hazardous waste – the court has rejected the Commission’s complaint.

* C-103/00, Commission v. Hellenic Republic

ECJ 30-01-2002, ECR [2002] I-1147

In January 2002, the ECJ found that sea turtles were not sufficiently protected in Greece and that in this way, the country failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 12(1)(b) and (d) of the Habitats Directive 92/43. In October 2004 the Commission issued a Reasoned Opinion against Greece for failure to comply with the 2002 ECJ ruling and to provide sufficient protection to endangered sea turtle. This is the last step, giving Greece a two month-deadline before the Commission can ask the ECJ to impose penalties on Greece similar to the ones imposed earlier in the Chania waste case C-387/97 and the Spanish bathing water case C-287/01.

Added to Documents page, Commission documents, GMO’s:

* Press release IP/04/663 in which the European Commission announced that it has authorised the second GM food for human consumption, namely maize type NK603.

Added to Conferences page and upcoming conferences:

* 1-2 November 2004, Second CAT&E Conference on Trade, Environment and Development, Amsterdam, Netherlands

* 7-8 November 2004, 25 Years of the Birds Directive: Challenges for 25 Countries, Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands

* 13 November 2004, Does the EU lead Europe on environmental policy? Supranationalism and intergovernmentalism in regional environmental cooperation, Brussels, Belgium

* 18-19 November 2004, Approximation of Russian Environmental legislation to EU legislation, The Hague, Netherlands

* 29-30 November 2004, Milan Climate Change Conference: Italy and the EU facing the challenge of the ETS & Kyoto, Milan, Italy

Added to Documents page:

* 2610th Council meeting – ENVIRONMENT – Luxembourg, 14 October 2004 (pdf file)

The Environment Council has adopted conclusions concerning the central environmental theme of the Dutch presidency of the EU: The Environment as Opportunity (Clean, Clever, Competitive). Extra measures to make road vehicles cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient are needed. Eco-friendly innovations will help to boost economic growth and employment. Sustainable innovative products can be used to create new markets and help the Union to achieve its Lisbon objective of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. Eco-friendly innovation is to be stimulated by pursuing green procurement policies and offering favorable tax measures, such as green investment incentives. The Environment Council also adopted conclusions on protection against high water. A political agreement was reached on new European legislation on mining waste. This will oblige companies to take measures to guarantee the safety of waste disposal facilities and will ensure better protection for soil and water. Ministers have decided that the sale of a number of products containing fluoridated greenhouse gases (fluorine gases) should be prohibited. These are powerful gases which are covered by the Kyoto Protocol. The environment ministers are keen to hold talks within the UN to discuss agreements on emission reductions in the years after 2012. ‘The Kyoto Protocol is a first step; further reductions will be necessary after 2012’, says the president of the Environment Council Pieter van Geel. In that respect, the ministers are looking forward to next December’s UN Climate Conference (COP10) in Buenos Aires.

Added to Reviews page:

* Sustainability labelling and certification, Campins Eritja (edt), Madrid, September 2004, 413 pages, 46,80 Euro. Published by Marcial Pons.

Added to Dossiers page:

* Update Climate Change Dossier, by Leonardo Massai

The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol depended on Russia. On Friday 22 October 2004, Russian Parliament voted in favour of the ratification. This means that the Kyoto Protocol can enter into force early 2005.

Added to Vacancies page:

* Network of European Environmental Lawyers

* Senior Programme Officer



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

Jens Hamer (Academy of European Law, Trier)


Daria Ratsiborinskaya (Institute of European law, MGIMO, Moscow)

Pamela van der Goot (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)

Technical realisation:

Marco van der Harst, Julien J.M. Simon

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