MEPs voted in favor of amending the Aarhus Regulation to provide access to justice for NGOs and citizens

Climate action

In today’s plenary vote, the European Parliament has agreed on their position to amend the European Commission’s proposal for the revision of the Aarhus Regulation to comply with international law and enable NGOs and citizens to challenge environmental acts that harm the planet and people.

In 2017, the UN’s Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee found that the EU was in breach of their obligations under the Aarhus Convention that grants the public rights regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. The European Commission is given a deadline of October 2021 (before the next Meeting of the Parties of the Convention) to revise its Aarhus Regulation.

However, the European Commission’s proposal for the revision of the Aarhus Regulation was still falling short of providing access to environmental justice. At the request of the Commission, the UN’s Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee provided an opinion on the draft proposal underlining that it would still fail to fully implement the Convention.

In today’s European Parliament plenary vote, MEPs have supported amendments that would shape the future of this fundamental right of access to environmental justice.

Harriet Mackaill-Hill, governance policy officer at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “This was a much needed step to start addressing the EU’s environmental democracy and public accountability problem.
EU lawmakers will soon start negotiating in view of adopting the final text. It is of utmost importance that these amendments are upheld and that the Council accepts to take the Compliance Committee’s opinion into account, in order to put a stop to the EU’s breach of international law and guarantee access to environmental justice in the EU.”


For more information please contact: Goksen Sahin, CAN Europe Project Manager,


Useful Documents and Links: 

Access to Justice Observatory : Environmental Justice Network – Ireland

ClientEarth Communications:


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