EEL News Service 2006/6, 14 December 2006 (

EEL News Service 2006/6, 14 December 2006 (
Upcoming Event:
* Tackling Climate Change – An Appraisal of the Kyoto Protocol and options for the future
Date: 30 and 31 March 2006
Location: T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
Click here for more detailed information.

Added to Legislation, Dangerous Substances
* Deal on final version of REACH
In the night of 30 November 2006 Member States and Members of the European Parliament have reached an agreement on a new chemicals safety bill, REACH – which stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals. The text is expected to pass the Council and the Parliament in the coming month. With the adoption of the Regulation, an end will come to almost seven years of negotiations. The most debated issue regarded substitution rules for the most dangerous substances, which now will oblige firms to submit substitution plans for replacing the dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives. Overall reactions are mixed, as the text is seen as steering a middle way between the interests of the chemicals industry and the concerns of environmental groups.

Added to Legislation, Climate change
* Commission Communication on the assessment of national allocation plans for the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances in the second period of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme of 29 November 2006
The Commission has revised the national allocation plans (NAPs) that determine the allocation of carbon emissions to the industry for the second phase of the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Reductions larger than expected have been demanded by the Commission. All Member States had proposed caps to the Commission, but all of them, except for the UK have been dismissed as insufficient. A further, seven per cent, cut is expected by the Commission, which has the right to veto those NAPs that seem to be too favorable for industry. Environmental groups have welcomed the firm attitude of the Commission.
Added to Legislation, Water
* Joint text issued on new Groundwater Directive
On 24 November 2006 the text of a new Directive on the protection of groundwater has been issued by the Council of Ministers and will enter into force after the European Parliament has approved it. The draft contains a requirement to prevent the input of hazardous substances into groundwater and imposes a single limit value on nitrates. Thereby the Directive sets out some of the targets from the Water Framework Directive of 2000.
Added to Case law, ECJ
* Case C-486/04, Commission vs. Italy
ECJ 2006-11-23, nyr
In a case against Italy the Commission challenged Italian exemptions from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive for a waste development facility and a biomass incineration plant project in the village of Massafra in the region of Puglia. On 23 November 2006 the ECJ ruled against Italy stating that waste recovery operations are also covered by the EIA-Directive 85/337/EEC amended by Directive 97/11/EEC. It thus appeared of no relevance that the action of recovering waste is actually beneficial for the environment, because the installations could still have an impact on the environment.
Sector(s): EIA, Waste

* Case C-32/05, Commission vs. Luxemburg
ECJ 2006-11-30, nyr
Luxemburg lost a case for failing to correctly implement the Water Framework Directive in its national legislation. The ECJ held, that an existing law of 1993 did not ensure the full compliance with three of the articles in the Directive.
Sector(s): Water

* Case C-293/05, Commission vs. Italy
ECJ 2006-11-30, nyr
Italy has been condemned for failing to install tertiary or advanced treatment of sewage in the province of Varese near the Swiss border. It thereby breached the 1991 Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive that obliges agglomerations with a population of over 10.000 inhabitants to implement such treatment inside so-called eutrophication-sensitive zones.
Sector(s): Water

* Case C-452/05, Commission vs. Luxemburg
ECJ 2006-11-23, nyr
The Court ruled that Luxemburg had failed in reducing phosphorus and nitrogen in Urban Waste Water Treatment. Sewage plants, for the use of removing water pollution with nitrogen, did not meet the environmental standards in order to qualify for exemption. Luxemburg had thus breached the 1991 Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (91/271/EEC).
Sector(s): Water

Added to Case Law, WTO
* EU not to appeal against WTO ruling on GMOs
The European Union will not appeal against a ruling by the World Trade Organization in September 2006 that the EU’s blockade on the marketing of new genetically modified organisms (GMOs) violated trade rules. Environmental organizations warn that accepting the ruling sets a dangerous precedent for future environmental disputes.  
Added to Policy Areas, General
* Energy research priority for new EU research programme
The European Parliament has approved an agreement on the funding of the Seventh Framework Research Programme 2007-2013 (FP7) that is intended to create a common European Research Area. Of the total budget of €54.58bn, €1.15bn is reserved for research in the area of renewables and energy efficiency. A further €2.75bn is reserved for nuclear energy research.
* EEA Report 11/2006: ‘Land accounts for Europe 1990-2000’
Changes in land cover in Europe reflect modifications in the uses of land, which often compete for the same resource: development of artificial surfaces for housing, transport and economic activities; intensification or extensification of agriculture practices; conversion of natural land to agriculture or farmland abandonment; afforestation or deforestation. Accounting for land cover change in a consistent way at the European scale has been made possible because of the Corine land cover inventory by satellite images carried out in 1990 and 2000 (and planned to be repeated for 2006). Based on spatial information, the land accounts produced by the EEA provide assessments of the magnitude of the various types of change and, at the same time, of their distribution over the European territory. Built up using the methodology of the integrated system of economic environmental accounting (SEEA2003) of the United Nations, land cover accounts are connected to other sets of tables which describe the use of the natural resources by the economy. Land cover accounts can serve as well as a platform to account for ecosystem integrity and goods and services provided to societies by these ecosystems.
The report analyses the main results for 24 European countries and presents the methodology used for that purpose.

* EEA Report 10/2006: ‘Urban sprawl in Europe – The ignored challenge’
Europe is one of the most urbanized continents with around 75 percent of its population living in urban areas. By 2020 however, this percentage could be as high as 90 percent in some Member States. But not only is the percentage of people living in cities growing, also the space they consume is increasing in an uncontrolled way. A report by the European Environmental Agency warns that Urban Sprawl – which is “when the rate of land-use conversion exceeds the rate of population growth” – is partly caused by the EU policy of funding construction projects that do not use land efficiently. People living in sprawling cities need more energy supply systems and road networks which make them travel further and consume more, says the EEA.

Added to Policy Areas, Climate Change

* EEA Report 9/2006: ‘Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2006’
The main conclusion of a European Environmental Agency Report on the emission of greenhouse gases is that the 15 ‘old’ EU-Members will reach the targets set, but only just. The domestic policies and measures that were examined show that total EU-15 greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by a net effect of 0.6 % from 1990 levels. Despite this, seven of the fifteen are likely to fall short of their individual targets: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. These countries might face infringement procedures. The other eight countries, and especially the United Kingdom, that are complying with the EU requirements, are reducing emission even above their targets.
Added to Dossiers/Links, Council Conclusions

* 2740th Environment Council meeting, Luxembourg, 27 June 2006
The Council adopted Common Positions on the draft Regulation for REACH, on the establishment of a European Chemicals Agency and on a draft Directive relating to the classification, packaging and labeling of dangerous substances. Next to that a Common Position was adopted on the Union’s financial instrument for the environment, Life+. Finally, also a Regulation was adopted with respect to the ten Member States that joined in May 2004, concerning the base year for the allocation of quotas of hydro chlorofluorocarbons.

Added to National Pages
* France relieved of record fine
The European Commission has decided that France is now complying with the EU fishery protection rules that it had been breaching and for which the French government had been fined €20m in July 2005 in Case C-304/02. France had to pay a further €57.8 million for every six months it did not sufficiently adapt its rules to the EU requisites. National Page of France

*Spain to implement Environmental Liability Directive with pioneering law
Member States of the European Union are obliged to implement Directive 2004/35/EEC, aimed at the establishment of a framework of environmental liability based on the ‘polluter-pays’ principle, in their national legislation by 2007. The Spanish government is planning on doing so and going further than the EU requests by means of a new law that requires financial guarantees from operators based on an environmental risk assessment. If an operator could, according to an EIA, cause damage to the environment in excess of €2m, then it should provide for financial guarantees such as a bank guarantee or an insurance policy. If companies stay within the limits of pollution set out by authorities or if they use the best available technology they cannot be held liable according to the ‘permit’ and ‘state-of-the-art’ defenses. National Page of Spain
Added to Job Postings

* WWF International – Project Manager
Project Manager for the Danube-Carpathian Programme and the 2012 Protected Areas Programme. Location: Gland, Switzerland. Deadline: 10 December 2006. More information.

* Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) – Legal Advisor
Location: Montreal, Canada. Deadline: 12 January 2007. More information.

Added to Events

* Tackling Climate Change – An Appraisal of the Kyoto Protocol and options for the future
Date: 30 and 31 March 2006
Location: T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague, The Netherlands
More information.

* The First EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW)
Entitled: “Take a week to change tomorrow!”
Date: 29 January to 4 February 2007
Location: Brussels, Belgium
More information.

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)
Ruben Vermeeren (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Sara Woods (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)

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