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EU Emissions into the environment and confidentiality - Comment on General Court, case T-545/11 RENV of 21 November 2018

Ludwig Krämer

elni Review 2018, Issue 2, pp. 47-51. https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2018.009

The author of this article comments on case T- 545/11 of November 2018 where the General ruled that an EU substance approval dossier (for glyphosate) contains no information related to environmental emissions.
The contribution discusses once more the question, of what an emission to the environment constitutes and whether access to this information may be refused to protect confidential commercial and industrial information, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure. 

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References

  1. Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC, OJ 2003 L 41/26.
  2. Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies, OJ 2006 L 264/13.
  3. Regulation (EC) 1107/2009 f the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC, OJ 2009 L 309/1.
  4. Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides, OJ 2009 L 309/71.
  5. Commission Directive 2001/99/EC of 20 November 2001 amending Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market to include glyphosate and thifensulfuron-methyl as active substances, OJ 2001 L 304/14.
  6. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2018, Judgment of the General Court (Fourth Chamber) of 21 November 2018 Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) v European Commission Access to documents — Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 — Documents relating to the first authorisation of the placing on the market of the active substance ‘glyphosate’ — Partial refusal of access — Exception relating to the protection of the commercial interests of a third party — Article 4(5) of Regulation No 1049/2001 — Overriding public interest — Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 — Article 6(1) of Regulation No 1367/2006 — Directive 91/414/EEC Case T-545/11 RENV.
  7. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2016, Judgment - 23/11/2016 - Commission v Stichting Greenpeace Nederland and PAN Europe Case C-673/13 P.
  8. L. Krämer, Emissions into the environment and disclosure of information. Comments on ECJ C-442/14 and C-673/13P. elni-Review 2017, n. 1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.46850/elni.2017.004.
  9. B. Wegener, "Kein Mund auf - Augen zu" - der freie Zugang zu Informationen über Emissionen in die Umwelt, Zeitschrift für Umweltrecht 2017, p. 146.
  10. 2005/370/EC: Council Decision of 17 February 2005 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters, OJ 2005 L 124/1.
  11. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2011, Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 8 March 2011. Lesoochranárske zoskupenie VLK v Ministerstvo životného prostredia Slovenskej republiky. Reference for a preliminary ruling: Najvyšší súd Slovenskej republiky - Slovakia. Environment - Aarhus Convention - Public participation in the decision-making process and access to justice in environmental matters - Direct effect. Case C-240/09.
  12. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
  13. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2015, Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 13 January 2015 Council of the European Union and Others v Vereniging Milieudefensie and Stichting Stop Luchtverontreiniging Utrecht Appeals — Directive 2008/50/EC — Directive on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe — Decision regarding the notification by the Kingdom of the Netherlands of the postponement of the deadline for attaining the limit values for nitrogen dioxide and the exemption from the obligation to apply the limit values for particulate matter (PM10) — Request for internal review of that decision, submitted pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 — Commission decision declaring the request inadmissible — Measure of individual scope — Aarhus Convention — Validity of Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 in the light of that convention, Joined Cases C-401/12 P to C-403/12 P.
  14. Court of Justice of the European Union, 2016, Judgment of the Court (Fifth Chamber) of 23 November 2016 Bayer CropScience SA-NV and Stichting De Bijenstichting v College voor de toelating van gewasbeschermingsmiddelen en biociden Request for a preliminary ruling from the College van Beroep voor het Bedrijfsleven Reference for a preliminary ruling — Environment — Aarhus Convention — Directive 2003/4/CE — Article 4(2) — Public access to information — Concept of ‘information relating to emissions into the environment’ — Directive 91/414/EEC — Directive 98/8/EC — Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 — Placing of plant protection products and biocides on the market — Confidentiality — Protection of industrial and commercial interests, Case C-442/14.
  15. Regulation (EC) No. 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision- Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community Institutions and Bodies, OJ 2006 L264/13.
  16. Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC, OJ 2003 L 41/26.