ECJ ruling emasculates draft EU green crime law

European court says EU may not propose harmonised criminal sanctions for green law breaches

The fate of a draft EU law on environmental crime was thrown into doubt on Tuesday after the European court of justice (ECJ) ruled that the EU is not allowed to agree harmonised penalties for breaches of green laws.

In February the European commission tabled a directive proposal calling for ten-year prison sentences and fines of over one million euros for the most serious environmental offences (EED 09/02/07).

Tuesday's judgment, on a marine pollution law, confirms that the EU has the right to require member states to "introduce penalties" to ensure that EU environmental rules are "fully effective".

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