barcelona

EU Council rebuff Commission in access to justice case

The EU Council of Ministers has dismissed a proposal by the Commission to reject a UN committee’s finding that it is breaching international law.

In March, the UN Aarhus committee found that the EU is breaching the Aarhus Convention by preventing the public from challenging the EU institutions’ environmental decisions in court.

The Commission’s proposal to reject this finding would have been the biggest scandal since the Aarhus Convention was adopted in 1998.

ClientEarth lawyer Anais Berthier said: “Today’s vote was crucial in the battle for the EU to adopt real access to justice laws. The Commission’s original proposal risked setting back almost two decades of progress on environmental democracy in Europe.”

“The Council of Ministers have voted to “take note” of the UN committee’s findings, accepting that the EU is breaching international law.

“The decisions of the EU institutions have a major impact on everyday life, from the air we breathe to the chemicals allowed in our food and products. The EU must now ensure they are accountable to the people they serve.”

Since it was established in 2002, no state has ever rejected a finding of the Committee – including the EU and the member states.

At present, businesses can defend their economic interests in the EU courts but people and NGOs cannot challenge health or environment decisions in the public interest.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

Alexandre Perotto

Related articles

More from

  • The challenge of challenging air quality programs in Poland – The Silesian air quality program and the issue of standing

    In February 2016, a resident of the town of Rybnik located in the region of Silesia, Poland, demanded that the Silesian Regional Assembly amend the air quality program it had adopted in 2014 for the region of Silesia.

  • Hinkley Point power station

    Case C-640/16 P, Greenpeace Energy v Commission, Judgment of 10 October 2017, ECLI:EU:C:2017:752

    The European Court of Justice has confirmed the inadmissibility of Greenpeace Energy’s application for annulment of the Commission’s decision approving State aid for the nuclear power plant, Hinkley Point C.

  • paris skyline

    Highest administrative court grants access to justice and upholds right to clean air in France

    On 11 July 2017, the Conseil d’État ordered the French government to produce plans to achieve air quality limit values in the shortest time possible.

  • European Parliament calls on the Commission to propose legislation on Access to Justice in Member States and the EU

    On 15 November, the European Parliament adopted Resolution 2017/2819 calling on the Commission to ensure better implementation of EU nature laws by proposing legislation on access to justice in Member States and the EU.

  • Follow us

    You can help

    Your support helps us use the law to protect your environment.