Presentation on theme: "Habitats Directive - lessons from case-law of Court of Justice of European Union since 1999 European Commission, DG Environment."— Presentation transcript:
Habitats Directive - lessons from case-law of Court of Justice of European Union since 1999 European Commission, DG Environment
Overview Why are legal cases necessary? Commission enforcement policy Why is the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) important? Commission enforcement: nature in context CJEU decisions in Commission actions, 1999-2012 CJEU rulings in preliminary references, 2000-2011 Lessons from case-law – interpretation Lessons from case-law – Commission and Member States Future challenges Future policy Future policy – questions for discussion
Why are legal cases necessary? European Commission Duty as guardian of Treaties to address implementation gaps – Article 17 of TEU Powers to act under Articles 258, 260 and 279 of TFEU Member States Competent authorities need to take enforcement action – public enforcement Decisions against decisions, acts and omissions – private enforcement through access to justice Preliminary references to the Court of Justice for interpretation – Article 267 of TFEU
Commission enforcement policy Partly defined in policy communications, see 2007 “A Europe of Results”, COM(2007)502 and 2008 Communication on implementing environment law, COM(2008)773 Enforcement is within context that includes compliance promotion, e.g. guidance documents, LIFE funding, EU Pilot Enforcement related to citizen complaints/European Parliament petitions – Directive 92/43/EEC frequently cited Trend towards strategic use of enforcement powers confirmed by 2008 Communication
Why is the Court of Justice of the European Union important? Final arbiter in disputes between Commission and Member States (80% of cases) Can order interim measures (rare, only one case concerning Directive 92/43/EEC) Definitively interprets in references from national courts (20% of cases)
CJEU decisions in Commission actions, 1999-2012 Subject-matter, number of casesCase reference, Member State National legislation (17. 13 MS)C-256/98, FR, 2000; C-324/01, BE, 2002; C- 75/01, LU, C-72/02, PT, C-143/02, IT, 2003; C- 407/03, FI, 2004; C-441/03, NL, C-6/04, UK, C-131/05, UK, 2005; C-98/03, DE, 2006; C- 418/04, IE, C-183/05, IE, C-508/04, AT, 2007; C-293/07, EL, 2008; C-241/08, FR, 2010; C- 538/09, BE, 2011; C-46/11, PL, 2012 National list (5, 5 MS), SAC designationC-67/99, IE, C-71/99, DE, C-220/99, FR, 2001; C-90/10, ES, 2011; C-340/10, CY, 2012 Site protection, projects (15, 8 MS)C-374/98, FR, 2000; C-117/00, IE, 2002; C- 209/02, AT, 2004; C-209/04, AT, C-239/04, PT, 2006; C-418/04, IE, C-304/05, IT, C-388/05, IT, C-179/06, IT, 2007; C-293/07, EL, 2008; C- 535/07, AT, C-491/08, IT, 2010; C-560/08, ES, C-404/09, ES, 2011; C-340/10, CY, 2012 Strict protection of species (9, 7 MS)C-103/00, EL, 2002; C-434/01, UK, 2003; C- 221/04, ES, 2006; C-518/04, EL, C-183/05, IE, C-342/05, FI, 2007; C-308/08, ES, 2010; C- 383/09, FR, C-90/10, ES, 2011; C-340/10, CY, 2012
CJEU rulings in preliminary references (1) 2000: C-371/98, First Corporate Shipping, scientific basis of Natura 2000 sites 2004: C-127/98, Waddenzee, duty of appropriate assessment 2005: C-117/03, Dragaggi, duty of interim protection 2006: C-244/05, Bund Naturschutz, duty of interim protection 2010: C-226/08, Stadt Papenburg, duty to prevent deterioration
CJEU rulings in preliminary references (2) 2011: C-115/09, Trianel, access to justice rights for Impact Assessment allow Directive 92/43/EEC issues to be raised 2011: C-240/09, Slovak Bears, rights of e-NGOs in cases concerning Directive 92/43/EEC 2011: C-2/10, Azienda Agro-Zootecnica Franchini and Eolica d Altamura, prohibition on wind-turbines, proportionality 2012: C-182/10, Solvay and others, need for appropriate assessment where projects adopted by legislation, IROPI
Lessons from case-law – interpretation Interpretations found in judgments as well as in preliminary rulings Interpretations tend to be rigorous and teleological, importance of objective science-base Interface with other directives, notably Birds, 79/409/EEC, e.g. on interim measures, and Impact Assessment, 85/337/EEC; Interface with access to justice, role of private enforcement Still room for future interpretation Helpfulness of Commission guidance documents
Lessons from case-law – Commission and Member States Court cases a last resort Positive role of EU Pilot? Commission success rate – 80% National legislation Dominant category Not complaint-driven New Member States try to resolve sooner National list Very limited need for court action Positive influence of bio-geographic process? Site protection and species protection Strong link with complaints Access to justice an alternative? Advantages of national complaint-handling criteria?
Future Challenges Monitoring systems Designation of SACs, implementation of Article 6(1) Site protection Public enforcement at national level Private enforcement at national level
Future Policy 2012 Implementation Communication, COM(2012)95 o Implementation one of 3 priorities of Commissioner Potočnik o Objective to complement rather than replace earlier communications o Not an infringement communication o Focus on improving information systems and checks and balances at national level o 2 themes: Knowledge and responsiveness o Adopted 7 March 2012 o Helps set scene for 7 th Environmental Action Programme
Future policy – questions for discussion What are the strengths and weaknesses of existing policy? Have we right balance between enforcement and compliance promotion? Knowledge: How can we build on existing active dissemination of information about Directive 92/43/EEC, such as Natura 2000 maps, Natura Barometer? Responsiveness: How to ensure establishment of best practice and best methodologies for inspections and surveillance in the field of nature? Can trans-network cooperation (inspectors, prosecutors, judges) improve how the enforcement chain functions in relation to wildlife crime? How to ensure consistent, structured exchanges between complainants and national authorities? How to provide access to justice in nature cases in response to Slovak Bears?