Access to justice in environmental matters: Amending the Aarhus Regulation

Briefing 21-03-2022

The European Union is party to the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The Aarhus Regulation applies the Convention's provisions to EU institutions and bodies. In 2017, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, reviewing implementation by the parties, found that the EU fails to comply with its obligations under Article 9, paragraphs 3 and 4 of the convention concerning access to justice by members of the public. To address this non-compliance issue, on 14 October 2020 the European Commission put forward a legislative proposal to amend the Aarhus Regulation. The Council and Parliament adopted their positions on 17 December 2020 and 20 May 2021, respectively. Interinstitutional negotiations, launched on 4 June 2021, concluded on 12 July with a provisional agreement. Parliament approved the agreed text on 5 October 2021. The regulation was published in the Official Journal on 8 October 2021, and entered into force on 28 October 2021. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.