Commission Urges Member States to Implement Sea Pollution Laws
The European Commission gave a series of Member States two months time to transpose EU rules laying down criminal penalties against sea pollution and other environmental offences.
Directive 2009/123/EC (amending Directive 2005/35/EC) on ship-source pollution is part of a set of EU rules to reinforce maritime safety and help prevent pollution from ships. It requires Member States to consider serious and illicit discharges of polluting substances from ships as a criminal offence. Eight states (Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia) have failed to comply with separate rules on pollution from ships. This Directive was due to be implemented by 16 November 2010.
Directive 2008/99/EC on protecting the environment through criminal law aims to ensure that criminal law measures are available in all Member States to react to serious breaches of EU rules on environmental protection. The Directive includes a list of breaches which have to be considered a criminal offence in all Member States, such as the illegal shipment of waste or the trade in endangered species. 10 countries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia) have so far failed to implement this Directive which should have been introduced in national law by 26 December 2010.
Failure by Member States to implement these Directives makes it impossible to have common minimum criminal law rules for serious breaches of EU legislation on the protection of the environment and against ship-source pollution. Such EU wide rules are essential to prevent loopholes which could otherwise be exploited by perpetrators of environmental crimes.
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