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Access to justice in environmental matters: Amending the Aarhus Regulation [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Vivienne Halleux (2nd edition, updated on 12.05.2021),

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The European Union is party to the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The Aarhus Regulation applies the Convention’s provisions to EU institutions and bodies. In 2017, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, reviewing implementation by the parties, found that the EU fails to comply with its obligations under Article 9, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the convention concerning access to justice by members of the public. To address this non-compliance issue, on 14 October 2020 the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal to amend the Aarhus Regulation, triggering mixed reactions from stakeholders. The Council reached a general approach on the file on 17 December 2020. Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 23 April 2021. The report is now scheduled for a vote during the May 2021 plenary session. This vote would set Parliament’s position for negotiations with the Council.

Complete version

Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies
Committee responsible: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) COM(2020) 642 final
Rapporteur: Christian Doleschal (EPP, Germany) 2020/0289(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Milan Brglez (S&D, Slovenia)
Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe, Slovakia)
Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA, France)
Anna Zalewska (ECR, Poland)
Mick Wallace (The Left, Ireland)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: First-reading vote in plenary

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