Legal Affairs Committee gets the lead role on environmental liability

The European Parliament’s plenary session voted
to settle the dispute on which committee would be responsible
for the dossier on environmental liability.

In January 2002, the Commission issued a proposal for a
directive on environmental liability. The proposal aims to
ensure that future environmental damage is paid by the
polluter, and preferably prevented. The Parliament has
recently started its consultation process.

The Environment Committee and the Legal
Affairs Committee have both claimed the right to be the
leading committee on the issue of environmental
liability.

The Legal Affairs Committee stated that
it had been following the subject since March 2000 and had
written the report on the Commission's Green Paper on the
issue. It also pointed to Parliament's rules which state
that all matters relating to civil liability, irrespective
of the sector concerned, are dealt with by the Legal
Affairs Committee.

The Environment Committee on the other
hand, argued that it should follow the legislation as it
related to environmental policy, it concerned the
prevention and remedying of environmental damage and it
would be dealt with by the Environment Council.

In a first decision, the Parliament's
three Vice-Presidents ruled that the Environment Committee
should be in charge. However, the Legal Affairs Committee
requested that the question would be voted on by the
plenary. The plenary voted in favour of the Legal Affairs
Committee. The rapporteurs are:

 

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