Germany brought to book over Seveso directive

European court condemns failure to transpose major accident hazards directive into national law

The European court of justice yesterday condemned Germany for missing the February 1999 deadline for transposing the EU major accident hazards directive, as recommended in an advisory opinion in March (EED 21/03/02). The directive, known as Seveso II, dictates how member states should deal with major accidents in plants such as power stations and chemical works.

Germany was judged in particular to have neglected article 11 of the 1996 directive, which requires that plans are drawn up for dealing with emergencies in industrial plants. The condemnation follows a first warning in May 1999 after which Germany submitted its plans for introducing national law piecemeal. Factors that have contributed to the hold-up are the need for agreement among Germany's 16 states and for new national legislation encompassing a number of existing ordinances.

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