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Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the environment through criminal law and replacing Directive 2008/99/EC

On 15 December 2021, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law replacing Directive 2008/99/EC.

In addition, together with the proposal for a directive the European Commission adopted a Communication on stepping up the fight against environmental crime in order to explain the policy objectives of the proposal.

The overall aim of the proposal is to achieve a better protection of the environment through criminal law. Particularly, the proposal seeks to:

  • remove the annexes currently attached to the Directive, and instead update the existing criminal offences covered by the Directive and add new offences, such as - illegal timber trade, illegal ship recycling and illegal abstraction of water;
  • clarify undefined legal terms used to describe environmental crime such as ‘substantial damage’;
  • ensure effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanction types and levels for environmental crime for both natural and legal persons;
  • improve the cross-border cooperation on environmental crime;
  • improve the effectiveness of national enforcement chain through training, investigative tools, mechanisms for cooperation between national authorities and better data collection and statistics;
  • recognise and stregthen the role of citizens and civil society.

The file is currently being considered by the preparatory bodies in the Council and in the European Parliament.

type: Proposal for a Directive

Reference number: COM(2021) 851 final

Issue date: 15-12-21


Uploads: COM(2021) 851 final