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EU agrees increased public scrutiny of environment-related acts

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EU agrees increased public scrutiny of environment-related acts

Environment eutrophication - Photo F. lamiot

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Parliament and Member States reached provisional political agreement Monday on amending the Aarhus Regulation to allow for increased public scrutiny of EU acts affecting the environment.

The aim of the Aarhus Convention is to guarantee three aspects of environmental governance: access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

The Commission had proposed the amendment in October 2020, following a commitment under the European Green Deal to improve access to administrative and judicial review at EU level for citizens and environmental non-governmental organisations.

The agreed amendment will improve possibilities for civil society to request that EU institutions review their acts with the aim of ensuring better environmental protection and more effective climate action. Environmental non-governmental organisations, as well as individuals whose rights are impaired will be able to ask for such scrutiny.

In addition, any members of the public acting together in the public interest will be able to ask for scrutiny if such request is supported by at least 4,000 Europeans from at least five EU Member States, with at least 250 members of the public coming from each of those Member States.

The amended Regulation is expected to further improve the openness, accountability and consistency of the Union's environment and climate actions and to support the EU executive's objective of achieving transformative change under the European Green Deal by empowering civil society to contribute to this change.

Following the provisional political agreement on the most relevant changes, the reviewed Aarhus Regulation now has to be approved and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before it enters into force.

European Green Deal

The EU and the Aarhus Convention

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