Members' Research Service By / June 24, 2022

Revision of Directive 2008/99/EC: Protection of the environment through criminal law [EU Legislation in Progress]

Although there is no universally accepted definition of environmental crime, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and INTERPOL agree that it ‘encompasses illegal activities harming the environment and aimed at benefitting individuals or groups or companies from exploitation of, damage to, trade or theft of natural resources, including serious crimes and transnational organised crime’.

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Written by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig (2nd edition, updated on 15.03.2023).

The European Commission proposed a revision of Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law in December 2021. The proposal intends to clarify some of the terms contained in the directive and includes an updated list of environmental crime offences, harmonised sanction types and levels, measures to strengthen international investigation and prosecution, improvements to the collection of statistical data and measures to improve national enforcement chains. Ultimately, the revision aims to increase the effectiveness of investigation and prosecution of environmental criminal offences across the European Union.

Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) is responsible for drawing up the draft report on the proposal, which was published on 12 October 2022. The Council adopted its general approach on the proposal on 9 December 2022.


Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the environment through criminal law and replacing Directive 2008/99/EC
Committee responsible:Legal Affairs (JURI)COM(2021) 851
Rapporteur:Antonius Manders (EPP, Netherlands)2021/0422(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Ilana Cicurel (Renew, France)
Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR, Spain)
Virginie Joron (ID, France)
Manon Aubry (The Left, France)
Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA, France)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD)
(Parliament and Council on equal
footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Committee vote
EU Legislation in progress: Committee vote

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