EU moves closer to making pollution a crime
The European Parliament has endorsed efforts to make acts that cause serious damage to the environment.22 May 2008
BRUSSELS - Efforts to make acts that cause serious damage to the environment a crime throughout the European Union passed a major hurdle on Wednesday after being endorsed by the European Parliament.
Lawmakers gathering in Strasbourg reached an agreement with the EU's 27 member states, giving them two years to make the European Commission directive part of their own national legislation.
The news was welcomed in Brussels by members of the EU executive.
"This agreement marks a significant contribution for strengthening the protection of Europe's environment. No more safe havens will be possible for those responsible for polluting our environment," said commissioner Jacques Barrot, the EU's top justice official.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said making serious violations of environmental rules a criminal offence should have "a major dissuasive effect and improve the implementation of EU environmental law to the benefit of Europe's citizens."
The directive covers such activities as the illegal shipment of waste and trade in endangered species or in ozone-depleting substances.
Significant damage to the environment caused by unlawful emissions to the air, water or soil as well as the unlawful treatment of waste will also be considered criminal offences.
[dpa / Expatica]