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Enforcement of European environmental law - The European Parliament comments on the Commission’s report

Sebastian Tusch

elni Review 2008, Issue 2,  pp. 81-85.

The European Commission publishes a yearly “Report on the Monitoring of the Application of Community Law in the Member States of the European Union”. The 2005 edition was reviewed by a member of the Parliament, namely Monica Frassoni, from Italy (Greens/EFA-IT). Her report has recently been adopted by a noteworthy resolution of the European Parliament. The resolution points out both the structural problems of enforcing European Community law and the disputable approach of the Commission during the last few years.
The European Parliament recognises that European Community law is not being applied consistently. The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) refer to the annual report of the Commission in which the infringement proceedings initiated by the Commission are listed. This report illustrates that the number of detected infringements decreased from 2709 (in 2003) to 2653 (in 2005). This drop by 56 infringements seems at first sight not to be significant. But this reported decrease of procedures happened despite the fact that the European Union increased the number of Member States from 15 to 25 in 2004. Against this background, the lower level in 2005 is indeed questionable. Basically, the enlargement of the European Union was expected to cause a significant increase of infringement procedures against the Member States. This applies in particular to new Member States whose legal systems had been – in terms of compliance with European law – divergent from those in the other Member States.

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