Edel Grace and Peter Sweetman v An Bord Pleanála (C-164/17)

In a judgment issued on 25 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") followed the earlier Opinion of Advocate General Tanchev and held that although measures in a management plan would at a minimum maintain and also potentially increase the amount of suitable habitat available for a protected species they could not be classed as mitigation measures and thereby be included in an appropriate assessment carried out under Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43/EEC (the "Habitats Directive") to determine whether the plan or project would adversely affect the integrity of the site.

The judgment can be found here.

Commission v Spain (C-205/17)

The CJEU has ordered Spain to pay a lump sum of €12 million and a penalty payment of almost €11 million per six-month period of delay on account of its delay in complying with the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

The judgment is currently only available in French and Spanish. A press release can be accessed here.

Commission v Slovakia (C-331/11)

The CJEU has ordered Slovakia to pay a lump sum of €1,000,000 and a penalty payment of €5,000 for each day of delay in implementing the measures necessary to comply with a judgment of 25 April 2013. The competent authorities in Slovakia had been ordered to either grant a permit to continue to operate the landfill site in question pursuant to a site-conditioning plan satisfying the requirements of the Landfill Directive, or order that operations be discontinued and proceed with the definitive closure of that site in accordance with Article 13 of the Landfill Directive.

This judgment has yet to be published.

Commission v Malta (C-557/15)

In this case, Malta had sought to avail of an exception to the EU Wild Birds Directive.  That Directive places a general ban on the killing and capture of wild birds, however it also provides exceptions to this general rule. The exceptions which Malta provided for in its national law were found to be invalid because Malta had not shown that its exceptions would maintain current bird populations. Additionally, Malta had not provided that birds could only be trapped in small numbers, in a non-selective manner, and under strictly supervised conditions.

Therefore, the CJEU made a declaration that the exception to the provisions of the Wild Birds Directive created by Malta was invalid. This case makes clear that Member States must provide a very high level of detail to successfully avail of the exceptions permitted under Article 9 of the Wild Birds Directive, and that any supporting statistics provided by the Member State in question must be consistent and robust.

The judgment can be found here.


New Circular Economy Waste Package

Member States have approved a new Circular Economy Waste Package and adopted the following four Directives which amend the existing Waste Directives: Waste Framework (Directive (EU) 2018/851); Landfill of Waste (Directive (EU) 2018/850); Packaging and Packaging Waste (Directive (EU) 2018/852) and Electrical and electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, and batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (Directive (EU) 2018/849). These Directives set out new rules and targets for the reduction of waste, and for waste management and recycling:

  • recycling targets for municipal waste: 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035
  • recycling targets for packaging waste: 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030
  • hazardous household waste will have to be collected separately by 2022, bio-waste by 2023 and textiles by 2025
  • by 2035 the amount of municipal waste landfilled must be reduced to 10% or less of the total amount of municipal waste generated
  • increased use of economic instruments and other measures to incentivise the prevention of waste
  • mandatory extended producer responsibility schemes must be established for all packaging by 2024.

A press release about the Circular Economy Package can be found here.

Green Finance 2021-2027

For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission is proposing to increase funding by almost 60% for LIFE, the EU programme for the environment and climate action. The LIFE programme is among the EU funding programmes for which the Commission is proposing the largest proportional increase, with a budget of €5.45 billion between 2021 and 2027. For more details, see here.

Public consultation on the strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction

A public consultation on the strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction is open until 9 October 2018.  The consultation paper can be found here.


This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.