EurActiv.com Correspondent's Choice

This story about stricter environmental rules was published by EurActiv on 26th February.

The European Parliament’s environment committee has called on the European Commission to distribute lists of member states that fail to properly implement EU legislation on waste, water and nature protection, arguing that the situation had become “absurd”.

The whole debate on implementing the EU’s environmental rulebook is becoming “increasingly absurd,” said MEP Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (Germany, S&D) on Tuesday (23 February).

It is a “sobering fact” that member states are trying at all costs to avoid implementing the legislation they themselves adopt, she argued.

During an exchange of views with the Commission on the implementation of EU green laws, MEPs on the Parliament’s environment committee said they have the right to know who is failing to transpose the various EU laws and suggested that the EU executive should hand out country lists on the matter. Some even suggested establishing an early-warning system to identify those who are not on track.

In a resolution adopted earlier this month, the Parliament called on the Commission to provide the House with more and quicker information on all infringement procedures if requested.

Pia Bucella, director of legal affairs at the Commission’s environment directorate-general, said the EU executive is “bound by the existing rules on what we can say and transmit, what access-to-documents is allowing us […] and we obey the rules”.

She also said the Commission tries to issue press releases on the “big infringements” at every stage of the procedure, which gives its allegations in different cases “publicity”.

Bucella also said various infringement scoreboards are found in the Commission’s annual reports and that the environment department publishes every year its annual statistics on infringements. The latter show how quickly or slowly the EU executive is moving with different infringements.

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