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EURO COMMISSION EXAMINES BREACHES OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

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At a meeting yesterday, the European Commission adopted a communication on how to improve the implementation of EU ...
At a meeting yesterday, the European Commission adopted a communication on how to improve the implementation of EU environmental legislation.

The communication analyses the difficulties and deficiencies which are apparent in the member states. Only last year the commission registered 265 suspected breaches of Community environmental law which represented over 20% of all the infringements registered by the Commission in 1995.

At any one time the commission has over 600 environmental infringement cases outstanding against member states, and in July 1996 as many as 85 such cases were awaiting the decision by the European court of justice.

The communication concludes that more effective implementation is not just a question of taking members states to court. More innovative proposals must be considered.

One such proposal is to recommend guidelines to assist the member states in their environmental inspections. Another will examine the establishment of environmental complaints and investigation procedures in each member state to resolve problems of implementation of EU environmental law at a local level.

Finally, in keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, the commission will take a look at how best to ensure that representative organisations are guaranteed basic access to the national jurisdictions responsible for the implementation of EU environmental law.

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