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European Commission - Press release

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

Brussels, 22 March 2012 – The European Commission is urging Sweden to bring its national legislation on assessing the effects of plans and programmes on the environment into line with EU rules. The current legislation on strategic environmental assessments in Sweden still contains shortcomings. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is therefore sending a reasoned opinion. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

The Commission is asking Sweden to ensure the full transposition into national law of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive on assessing of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment. Swedish legislation, for example, implies that strategic assessments should be made available only to the parties that gave their views in the consultation when the plan was being drawn up, whereas the Directive has wider requirements: to inform not only parties that participated in the consultation but also all authorities and the public which had been invited to participate in the consultation but didn't give their views, and to make the plan available to them as well. Sweden previously agreed to amend its law by spring 2011, but as the amendments have still not been adopted the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion, giving Sweden two months to reply.


Under Directive 2001/42/EC on Strategic Environmental Assessment, 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:

See also MEMO/12/200

Contacts :

Robert Flies (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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