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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Environment: Estonia and Poland face Court for failing to put EU law on their statute books

The European Commission is referring Estonia and Poland to the European Court of Justice for failing to bring EU environmental legislation into force. These Member States have not yet adopted legislation on spatial data infrastructure at national level, despite reasoned opinions issued to both countries under ongoing infringement proceedings. The legislation was due by 15 May 2009. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission has therefore decided to refer the cases to the Court.

Under the legislation, Member States had to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive on spatial infrastructure before 15 May 2009. Since the Directive has not been completely transposed in the two Member States despite a reasoned opinion sent to Poland in November 2009 and to Estonia in January 2010, the Commission is referring the cases to the European Court of Justice.

Directive 2007/2/EC, establishing an infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), aims to facilitate the access and use of spatial data related to the environment. This data needs to be shared between public authorities for all their tasks related to the environment. Member States have to ensure that the data are shared without any practical obstacles.

The Directive covers a wide range of spatial data ranging from basic mapping information, such as transport networks and administrative units, to key environmental information such as emissions, environmental quality and location of protected sites. It is important to be able to combine these different types of data to obtain the best information on how to better protect our society from, for example, the many possible impacts of climate change and air pollution as well as natural and technological disasters. The better the information available, the more cost-effective the measures can be to protect our environment.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

For more details on infringement procedures in general, see MEMO/10/605

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