Select Committee on European Communities Second Report



Resolution on a communication from the Commission on implementing Community environmental law

The European Parliament

-  having regard to its opinion of 14 December 1990 on the proposal for a Council Directive on harmonizing and rationalizing reports on the implementation of certain Directives relating to the environment[107] and its resolution of 8 April 1992 on implementation of Community environmental law[108],

-  having regard to the conclusions of its joint hearing with the Commission in May 1996 on making environmental legislation work,

-  having regard to the Commission's commitment in the 4th environmental action programme (Council resolution of 19 October 1987)[109] and in the 5th environmental action programme (Council resolution of 1 February 1993)[110],

-  having regard to Articles 155, 169 and 171 of the EC Treaty,

-  having regard to the annual Commission reports on the monitoring and application of Community law,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights (A4-0109/97),

A.  whereas the European Parliament is committed to sustainable development as a priority objective for the European Union,

B.  whereas the European Parliament considers that effective implementation of Community environmental legislation is vital for realising sustainability,

C.  whereas the European Parliament is concerned to conserve the resources of the Union in the name of its present and future citizens,

D.  whereas it favours the comprehensive participation of non-governmental organizations and the public in the implementation of Community environmental law,

1.    Calls on the Commission to codify Community environmental legislation to improve its coherence and transparency;

2.    Calls on the Commission to propose legislation to ensure that the Community budget annually earmarks a proportion of its funds to ensure implementation of environmental legislation;

3.    Calls for general priority to be given to environmental objectives in the EU budget (Greening of the budget);

4.    Calls on the Commission to produce and publicize an Annual Report on progress in adopting and implementing Community environmental law, containing detailed tables showing its implementation;

5.    Calls on the Council and Commission to publicize all declarations that have been agreed in Council in connection with the adoption of environmental legislation;

6.    Calls on the Commission to recognise that improving the implementation and enforcement of Community environmental law requires an increase in staff and resources of the Commission Directorate-General for Environment (DG IX);

7.    Calls on the Commission within the lifetime of this Parliament to propose legislation requiring each Member State to have an environmental inspectorate, established on the basis of best available practice in the Member States and subject to monitoring and oversight by the Commission, which should also issue guidelines for the Member States concerning the transposition of all Community environmental legislation;

8.    Calls on the Commission to bring forward proposals within the lifetime of this Parliament which link its own work with that of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and of the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) in order to ensure adequate monitoring of the national inspection agencies;

9.    Calls on the Member States in their own interest to develop training schemes for national regulatory bodies and civil servants to enable them to become familiar with, and understand the implications of, Community environmental law;

10.  Calls on the Commission, when submitting proposals, to hold a round of consultations of the parties affected, and to make the results of such consultations available to the European Parliament;

11.  Calls for official communications between the Commission and Member States related to Article 169 of the EC Treaty to be made available to the European Parliament;

12.  Calls on the Commission to introduce within the lifetime of this Parliament a legislative proposal on access to justice giving individuals and organisations extensive rights of legal standing before their national courts in the event of alleged breaches of environmental legislation, in order to reduce costs and promote efficiency;

13.  Calls on the IGC to ensure that following its conclusion all environment legislation is subject to the codecision procedure;

14.  Calls on the IGC to amend the Treaty so as to allow certain organisations, to be determined jointly with the European Parliament, to challenge Community decisions on environmental matters before the Court of Justice of the European Communities;

15.  Calls on the Council to place a discussion on the implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation as a regular point on its agenda;

16.  Calls on the Commission to bring forward proposals for the thorough and timely application of Article 171 of the EC Treaty to breaches of environmental law;

17.  Calls for greater regularity of automatic initiation of legal proceedings in cases where Member States have failed to comply with all provisions of a Directive or where they have failed to communicate the same to the Commission, obviating the need for political decisions by the Commission;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the governments of the Member States.


15 May 1997

107   OJ C 19, 28.1.1991, P. 587.  Back

108   OJ C 125, 18.5.1992, p. 122. Back

109   OJ C 328, 7.12.1987, chapter 2.2. Back

110   OJ C 138 , 17.5.1993, chapter 9. Back

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Prepared 21 July 1997