European Day of Justice highlights EU democratic deficit
On 25 October, the EU celebrated the European Day of Justice, an initiative aimed at “bringing justice closer to all European Citizens”. Yet no individual or campaign group has ever succeeded in challenging an act of an EU institution before its courts in Luxembourg in environmental matters!
In June this year, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee agreed with ClientEarth that EU rules preventing NGOs and individuals from bringing cases before the EU courts – as well as the EU’s administrative review – procedure violate the Aarhus Convention’s provisions on access to justice in environmental matters.
Last week, the EU responded to the findings, repeating many of the arguments that have already been rejected by the Compliance Committee. It continues to state that individuals and NGOs should bring cases in national courts, rather than EU courts.
But the EU knows that this does not provide an effective means of challenging EU rules, especially those that are not implemented at national level.
The EU’s response also puts forward new arguments defending its administrative review procedure and asks for a further hearing to discuss these in more detail.
ClientEarth brought the case in 2008. Eight years later, the EU wants to delay its conclusion even further.
European Day of Justice rings hollow in an EU that obstructs access to its courts and review procedures!
You can read the full response of the EU here.
You can read more about the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee findings here.
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