The Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘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’ (COM(2020) 642 final) (EESC 2020/04962) has been published last Friday at the OJEU (C 123, 9.4.2021, p. 66).
“Conclusions and recommendations
1.1 The EESC welcomes the Commission’s proposal (1) to strengthen the internal review mechanism contained in the Aarhus Regulation (2) and appreciates its potential.
1.2 The EESC supports the four priority actions identified in the Commission’s Communication, namely the Member States’ obligation to fully and correctly transpose access to justice requirements stemming from EU secondary law, the need for co-legislators to include provisions on access to justice in new and revised EU legislation concerning environmental matters, the review by Member States of their own national legislative and regulatory provisions that prevent or undermine access to justice, and the obligation of national courts to guarantee the right of individuals and NGOs to an effective remedy under EU law.
1.3 Nevertheless, the EESC points out to the Commission that its proposal contains loopholes which may be used by institutions to avoid being held accountable.