Germany "risks Natura fine" over estuaries

Germany risks being fined almost €800,000 daily by the EU under the 1992 habitats directive because Lower Saxony has failed to include the mouths of the rivers Elbe, Weser and Ems in the Natura 2000 network, according to environment minister Jürgen Trittin. Warning of renewed legal action by the European Commission following an earlier European court of justice ruling against Germany (EED 11/09/01), Mr Trittin said the federal government would "directly transfer this bill to the Lower Saxony government, as its premier seems to have plenty of money". A Lower Saxony spokesperson said it was unclear whether the state was in breach of EU law. See ministry press release.

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