News: Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece & Luxembourg in Court for failures in environmental law

[tweetmeme http://www.URL.com%5D Brussels, 3 June 2010.  The European Commission is taking six Member States to the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose EU environmental legislation into their national laws. Court action is being taken against Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece and Luxembourg, following two earlier warnings.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “EU environmental law is there to protect EU citizens and the environment. I urge those Member States that have not done so to put the laws in question onto their national statute books as soon as possible.”

Court action for five Member States over law on spatial data infrastructure

The Commission is referring Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice for failing to complete the transposition of legislation on spatial data infrastructure into their national laws.

The 2007 Directive establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE)[1] aims to facilitate the access and use of spatial data related to the environment. This data needs to be shared between public authorities for all their tasks related to the environment. Member States have to ensure that the data are shared without any practical obstacles. The Directive covers a wide range of spatial data ranging from basic mapping information, such as transport networks and administrative units, to key environmental information such as emissions, environmental quality and location of protected sites. It is important to be able to combine these different types of data to obtain the best information on how to better protect our society from, for example, the many possible impacts of climate change and air pollution as well as natural and technological disasters. The better the information available, the more cost-effective the measures can be to protect our environment.

Under the legislation, Member States had to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive before 15 May 2009. Since the Directive has not been completely transposed in the five Member States despite two earlier warnings, the Commission is referring the cases to the European Court of Justice.

Belgium faces Court over groundwater legislation

The Commission is taking Court action against Belgium for failing to adopt the necessary implementing legislation relating to the Groundwater Directive[2]. The Directive sets underground water quality standards and introduces measures to prevent or limit inputs of pollutants into groundwater.

The case concerns the failure by Belgium to lay down the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive and notify the Commission no later than 16 January 2009.

In Belgium, the transposition of EU legislation is generally a competence of three regions – Wallonia, Flanders and the Brussels-Capital Region. Not all regions have implemented the legislation and the Commission is therefore referring Belgium to the European Court of Justice.

For current information on infringements in general see:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/implementation_en.htm

Citation:  Press Release of European Commission IP/10/686_FR


[1] Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE).

[2] Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration.

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