Second wave of EU infringements announced

Commission re-starts legal proceedings against five countries after previous court judgements

The European Commission has released details of a further wave of infringement proceedings to be taken against EU member states for non-compliance with EU environmental laws. The announcements include five new cases being launched under article 171 of the EU treaty against countries that have failed to comply with court judgements.

All the proceedings announced in the last two days were rubber stamped by European Commissioners at a meeting in early December. A first batch was announced last week, and more cases are due to be detailed by the Commission in the coming days (ENDS Daily 11 December).

The highlight of the latest announcements is formal notices (first warnings) to be sent under article 171 of the EU treaty to five countries that the Commission alleges have failed to comply with judgements against them in the European Court of Justice. Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Greece and Spain are targeted by the move, which is a relatively uncommon legal procedure.

Summary details of all the cases announced in the last two days follow. More information on each of them can be found on the Commission's web site:

Article 171 proceedings:

* GMO deliberate release directive, 1990. Letter of formal notice to BELGIUM following a court judgement in July over failure to adopt legislation to implement the directive as required by October 1991 (ENDS Daily 13 July).

* 1994 directives on deliberate release and contained use of GMOs adapting to technical progress two 1990 directives. Letter of formal notice to LUXEMBOURG following a court judgement in July over failure to adopt legislation to implement the directives by April 1995

* Wild birds directive, 1979. Letter of formal notice to the NETHERLANDS following a court judgement in May over failure to designate sufficient special protection areas for wild birds (ENDS Daily 19 May).

* Dangerous substances in water directive, 1976. Letter of formal notice to GREECE following court judgements in June for failure to adopt pollution reduction programmes (ENDS Daily 12 June).

* Batteries directive, 1991. Letter of formal notice to SPAIN following a court judgement in May over failure to adopt a programme for used battery waste.

Article 169 proceedings (new cases):

* 1990 directives on contained use and deliberate release of genetically modified organisms. Court application against PORTUGAL alleging that it has not "correctly carried over" the obligations of the two directives in implementing legislation.

* Directive 97/35/EC adapting to technical progress the 1990 deliberate release of GMOs directive. Court applications against BELGIUM and GREECE.

* Waste management plans as required under the 1975 waste framework directive, the 1991 directive on hazardous waste and the 1994 packaging directive. Court application against IRELAND and reasoned opinion to GERMANY.

* Application of various environmental directives in Gibraltar. Court application against the UK

* 1997 directive on air emissions from non-road mobile machinery. Reasoned opinions to AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, GREECE, FRANCE, IRELAND, ITALY, LUXEMBOURG, PORTUGAL, UK.

* Ambient air quality assessment and management directive, 1996. Reasoned opinions to GREECE, IRELAND, ITALY, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, SWEDEN, UK.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 295 1111. References: Press notices on all cases mentioned are available on the Commission's Rapid service, (English language only).

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