Greece taken to EU Court over environmental impact assessment failures

The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive applies to a wide range of defined public and private projects including long-distance railway lines, motorways and express roads and airports

Big Zero Report 2022

The European Commission is referring Greece to the Court of Justice over its failure to carry out environmental impact assessments for certain large infrastructure projects.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, which has been in force since 1985, applies to a wide range of defined public and private projects including long-distance railway lines, motorways and express roads, airports and installations for the disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

According to the Commission, Greek legislation does not apply the provisions of the EIA Directive to all national defence projects.

However, under the Directive, such an exclusion is possible only if the member state considers the application of the EIA procedure would have adverse effects on defence or civil emergencies purposes.

In addition, Greek legislation does not yet include the obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment for certain projects such as installations for the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel or the final disposal of radioactive waste or inland waterways and ports which permit the passage of vessels of more than 1,350 tonnes.

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Greece in October 2019, followed by a reasoned opinion in December 2020, however, despite some progress, the Greek authorities “have not yet fully addressed them.

The Commission is therefore referring Greece to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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