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IP/11/176

Brussels, 16 February 2011

Environment: Commission asks Slovakia to comply with EU legislation on strategic environmental impact assessments

The European Commission is urging Slovakia to bring its national legislation on assessing the effects of plans and programmes on the environment in line with EU rules. The current legislation on strategic environmental assessments in Slovakia contains a number of shortcomings. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission is asking Slovakia to ensure the full transposition into national law of Directive 2001/42/EC (the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive) on assessing of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. In October 2009, the Commission notified Slovakia that its national legislation was not entirely in line with the Directive. A number of shortcomings were identified. Slovak legislation does not, for example, ensure that all plans and programmes likely to have significant effect on the environment are subject to environmental assessment. Under the Directive, the public should be informed of why an impact assessment is not required for a specific plan or programme, but this requirement is not included under current Slovak law. Slovakia now has two months to comply with EU legislation.

Background

Under the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive, plans and programmes made by authorities at national, regional and local levels, and which are likely to have significant effects on the environment, are required to undergo an environmental impact assessment. This enables environmental considerations to be integrated into the preparation and adoption of these plans and programmes, while also contributing to sustainable development.

The environmental assessment takes place during the preparation of such plans and before their adoption. It includes an environmental report detailing the likely significant environmental effects and reasonable alternatives, and consultations with the public, authorities responsible for environmental issues, and with other Member States if significant cross-border effects are likely.

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/implementation_en.htm

See also MEMO/11/86


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