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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Environment: Poland in Court over failure to comply with EU directive on nature protection

The European Commission is taking Poland to the European Court of Justice for its insufficient transposition of nature protection legislation. The Commission has particular concerns about the provisions in Poland's national legislation for derogations from the strict protection offered by the Habitats Directive. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the case is referred to the European Court of Justice.

Europe's habitats are protected by the 1992 Habitats Directive, a key piece of environmental legislation. The Commission has concerns about the transposition of the legislation in Poland, where the failure to amend domestic law is now leading to a Court appearance.

The Commission has concerns about the Polish provisions for derogations from the strict system of protection offered by the Directive. Polish law is not compliant with the Directive in this area, and further it contains a set of additional derogations which clearly go beyond the intentions of the Directive. The Commission signalled these shortcomings in a Reasoned Opinion sent in January this year. In March Poland agreed to amend its domestic law accordingly, but the Commission is concerned that the respective amendments have not yet been adopted. It is therefore summoning Poland to the Court of Justice.

The Habitats Directive

The Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) is a cornerstone of EU nature protection policy. It protects biodiversity by ensuring the favourable conservation status of habitats, thereby safeguarding wild fauna and flora on European territory. EU Member States have to report on the status of these habitats every six years, giving a clear picture of the state of Europe's nature.

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

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

For details about EU nature legislation, see:

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