Skip to content Skip to footer

The European Union has adopted a new Directive in the field of criminal law protection of the environment

The new Directive on environmental crime replaces Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law. Following evaluations in 2019 and 2020, the Commission determined that the Directive was not sufficiently effective. The number of successfully investigated and prosecuted environmental crimes remained very low, the sanctions were too low to be deterrent, and cross-border cooperation was inadequate. There were gaps in enforcement in all member states and at all levels of the enforcement chain (police, prosecution, and courts). The lack of reliable data also hindered the monitoring of the effectiveness of procedures for environmental crimes.

In 2021 the Commission proposed a new Directive, which included these six objectives:

  • Clarify terms used in the definitions of environmental crime that leave too much room for interpretation (e.g. ‘substantial damage’);
  • Update the Directive by bringing new environmental crime sectors under its scope;
  • Define the types and levels of penalties for environmental crime;
  • Foster cross-border investigation and prosecution;
  • Improve informed decision-making on environmental crime through improved collection and dissemination of statistical data according to common standards in all Member States, and
  • Improve the effectiveness of national enforcement chains.

We invite everyone who would like to learn more about the impact the new EU Directive on criminal environmental protection will have on Serbia, to register for the Green Justice: Implementation of Horizontal Environmental Legislation conference at the following link.