21st April 2017
We have seen significant developments in the field of EU environmental democracy in the first months of 2017. The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee has found the European Union is breaching the law by stopping individuals and campaign groups taking environmental cases to court. A General Court judgment on access to electronic databases has highlighted the shortcomings of the EU's transparency rules. A review of implementation of environmental law has brought to the fore the Juncker Commission's lack of concern for citizens' health. And the EU Ombudsman has opened an inquiry into Council transparency when discussing draft EU legislation.
We explore these updates and more in ClientEarth's Democracy Review - see the full update below. We cover information about how European institutions, member states and others are applying laws and regulations on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
We hope you find the update useful.
Anaïs Berthier, Senior Lawyer/Juriste, ClientEarth
The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee says the European Union is breaching the law by stopping individuals and campaign groups taking environmental cases to court. Read our legal analysis and news story.
The Ombudsman’s letter to the Council demonstrates a structured approach to the question of institutional transparency and demands answers to some significant questions on the Council’s current practice.
The Court of Justice has ruled that the EU’s transparency rules do not allow citizens to access information stored in electronic databases unless there is a pre-existing search tool to extract it.
The Court of Auditors published a report on the implementation of the Birds and Habitats directives. The report concentrates on management, financing and monitoring. The auditing report found deficiencies and gaps in each of the three areas.
A new ruling from the General Court finds that NGOs cannot challenge decisions of EU institutions before the EU courts. The only remedy they have is through the Aarhus Regulation which, according to the only ruling that has been handed down on the matter, only provides an indirect right of challenge.
Ludwig Kramer explains why the Commission’s white paper on the future of Europe fails to recognize the environmental challenges facing Europe. The environment will survive without the EU, but the EU will not survive without an adequately protected environment.
The Commission published a report on the application of Regulation 1185/2009 concerning statistics on pesticides. It concluded that the data on the sales of pesticides submitted to the Commission by the Member States are too aggregated to allow an effective analysis of environmental risks of active substances. Analysis by Ludwig Kramer
The Commission has published a Communication on how the Member States have implemented and applied EU environmental legislation - but ClientEarth's Ludwig Kramer says it shows a lack of concern for citizens by the Juncker Commission.
The Commission’s fitness check of the noise directive has found important delays in its implementation
The Commission’s fitness checks serve to examine whether directives are still relevant or should be amended, in particular in view of deregulation, and continue to be acceptable to economic operators.
The Commission has published a report on the implementation of the Waste Framework Directive, sewage sludge , packaging and packaging waste, electrical and electronic waste, batteries and landfills – four years late.