Original language


European Union
Date of text
Type of court
International court
Court name
European Court of Justice
Seat of court
Reference number
Administrative, Environmental Impact Assessments
Free tags
Environment gen.
Timmermans C., W., A.
Kuris P.
Klucka J.
de Lapuerta R., Silva
Makarczyk J.
By its application, the Commission of the European Communities sought a declaration from the Court that, by making the full and effective participation of the public in certain environmental impact assessments subject to prior payment of fees, Ireland had failed to comply with its obligations under Articles 6 and 8 of Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997. Regarding the alleged infringement of Article 6 of Directive 85/337, the Commission raised the argument that Ireland would be empowered to levy fees only if the directive expressly so provided. The Court did not accept this proposition. It was of the view that the third paragraph of Article 249 EC had to be interpreted as meaning that Member States had the obligation, when they transposed a directive, to ensure that it was fully effective, whilst retaining a broad discretion as to the choice of methods. It followed from Article 6(2) of the directive that the Member States had to ensure that the members of the public concerned were given an opportunity to express their opinion before development consent was granted for a project. Under Article 6(3), each Member State had the power to determine the detailed arrangements for the consultation. The Member States had a wide discretion in defining those arrangements. Although Directive 85/337 did not preclude fees such as those charged under the national legislation at issue in the present case, they could not, however, be fixed at a level which would be such as to prevent the directive from being fully effective. This would be the case if, due to its amount, a fee were liable to constitute an obstacle to the exercise of the rights of participation conferred by Article 6 of Directive 85/337. The amount of the fees at issue here, namely EUR 20 in procedures before local authorities and EUR 45 at the Board level, could not be regarded as constituting such an obstacle. In the light of those considerations, the Commission’s arguments that the fees in question were contrary to the scheme and purpose of Directive 85/337 were rejected. The action was dismissed.