Review of EU environmental law compliance

16th annual report on monitoring application of EU laws published in the Official Journal

The EU's survey of its member states' compliance with the extensive framework of Community law in 1998 has appeared in the Official Journal. First released publicly in the summer (ENDS Daily 5 August), the report's extensive section on environmental directives and regulations finds that the number of complaints over countries' application of EU environmental law rose for the first time in three years. It adds, however, that in the environmental field, a large number of complaints "turn out not to be infringement situations as there is no legal basis in Community law or the unfounded in fact or in law". The review praises the continuing value of repeat legal actions now that it has the power to request daily fines in the case of a second judgement against a member state. Since 1997, seven of the ten "article 171" (now article 228) cases in which the Commission requested penalties were settled without a court judgement. The EU's most recent member states, Austria, Sweden and Finland, are complimented for progress made in incorporating EU laws since their accession in 1995. On the other hand, the report states that the Commission "sadly still has cause to regret" that most countries give insufficient information to show how new national laws transpose relevant EU legislation upon notification.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111. References: "Sixteenth Annual Report on Monitoring the Application of Community Law: 1998"; OJ C 354, vol 42, pp. 1-192

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