Enforcement of EU environmental legislation
Study to assess the benefits delivered through the enforcement of EU environmental legislation (2015-2016)
Client: DG Environment
The study aimed at understanding the effects of the enforcement action pursued by the European Commission on the implementation of EU Environmental law in the Member States. To that end, it provided an assessment of impacts of the enforcement policy of the Commission, in qualitative and, when that was possible, quantitative terms.
This study was the first attempt to measure the impact of the Commission's enforcement action in the field of the environment. The assessment was made through a case-by-case analysis of a selection of 244 infringement cases (out of several thousands) brought by the Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union between 1994 and 2014 against the 15 Member States that joined before 2004. These cases related to non-compliance with a selection of ten directives covering five environmental sectors: waste, water, nature protection, air and environmental impact assessment.
The results of the study, which was built upon existing methods for evaluating benefits, suggest that enforcement action by the European Commission brings benefits in terms of reduced loss caused by the lack of implementation of EU laws. Beyond that, benefits to citizens, duty holders (authorities and businesses), and to the society as a whole, can also be observed. The enforcement activities of the European Commission play a key role in the protection of the rule of law across the EU and benefits are observed in terms of better governance, with improved visibility and better inclusion of citizens in the protection of their environment.
The study can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/Final_report_study_benefits_enforcement.pdf and the factsheet prepared by Milieu at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/pubs/pdf/enforcing_EU_environmental_law_factsheet.pdf