Members' Research Service By / February 4, 2021

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

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.

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Written by Vivienne Halleux (3rd edition, updated on 23.9.2021),

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. The Council and Parliament adopted their positions on 17 December 2020 and 20 May 2021, respectively. Interinstitutional negotiations, launched on 4 June 2021, concluded on 12 July with a provisional agreement. The text, endorsed by Member States’ ambassadors on 23 July, and by the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on 1 September 2021, now awaits a vote in Parliament’s plenary, planned for the October I session.

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
14.10.2020
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: Final first-reading vote in plenary


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