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Brussels, 24 June 2010

Environment: Commission brings four Member States to Court for failing to implement EU laws

The European Commission is taking four Member States (Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Greece) to the EU's Court of Justice for failing to transpose EU environmental legislation into their national laws. Belgium is being referred to Court concerning EU rules on end of life vehicles, Luxembourg concerning groundwater and drinking water legislation, Germany concerning EU rules on the access and use of spatial data related to the environment and Greece concerning landfill rules.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "EU environmental law is there to protect EU citizens and the environment. I urge those Member States that have not done so to put the laws in question onto their national statute books as soon as possible."

Luxembourg - groundwater and drinking water legislation

The Commission is referring Luxembourg to the EU's Court of Justice for failure to communicate measures to implement Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration, as well as for incomplete and incorrect implementation of Directive 1998/83/EC on drinking water quality.

Greece and Belgium - waste law

The Commission is referring Greece to the EU's Court of Justice for incorrect application of Directives 2006/12/EC and 1999/31/EC, relating to waste and landfill of waste respectively, due to malfunction of the landfill at Fyli-Skalistiri in the Attiki region. An inspection carried out on 12 December 2006 confirmed deficiencies in the management of the landfill in question. The breach of EU law concerns the environmental impact as a result of this mismanagement.

The Commission is referring Belgium to the EU's Court of Justice for failure to implement in full Directive 2000/53/EC on end of life vehicles. A new Convention is due to address the problems, but has not yet been adopted.

Germany - law on spatial data infrastructure

The Commission is referring Germany to the EU's Court of Justice for incomplete implementation of Directive 2007/2/EC, establishing an infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE).

The Directive 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.

The Directive was due to be implemented by Member States before 15 May 2009.

For current statistics on infringements in general see:

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