4. ENGLISH SUMMARY

English summaries of the articles "ACCC finds the missing access to justice on the EU level in non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention" and "Clear Call to Action from the Commission: Wide Access to Justice in environmental areas must be granted, otherwise...".

ACCC finds the missing access to justice on the EU level in non-compliance with the Aarhus Convention

 

In March the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee finalized its findings in a landmark case against the EU in ACCC/C/2008/32, Part II: By failing to provide NGOs and other members of the public with access to justice at the EU level, the EU violates Article 9, paras. 3 and 4 of the Convention. The ACCC also found that the Aarhus Regulation fails to compensate for this lack of access. This spectacular win for environmental democracy is nine years in the making.
The ACCC’s findings will be forwarded to the Meeting of the Parties, taking place in September 2017, for its endorsement. With this the findings become legally binding and the EU must take clear and determined steps to provide access to justice. This should be welcomed as an opportunity to to address long-standing deficits in the EU legal framework. In the end, not only the elimination of a major democratic deficit in the EU is at stake, but the EU’s obligations to the international community as well.


Clear Call to Action from the Commission: Wide Access to Justice in environmental areas must be granted, otherwise...

 

The Commission just released its long-awaited Guidelines on Access to Justice. These make quite clear the Commission’s stand on many questions concerning the rights of the public to access to justice in environmental matters. Although the Guidelines do not cover all aspects in this area of law, and a directive would have been a better alternative, they provide much needed legal certainty. They make quite clear what the Commission expects of its Member States. Countries, especially those which – like Austria – follow a strict interpretation of the infringement of rights doctrine, must now take measures to grant access to justice, particularly in the areas of nature protection, water, and waste. The writing is on the wall: further inaction is not only a huge embarrassment for Austria state governed by rule of law, it will lead to serious and costly consequences as well. 

geändert am 17.05.2017