European Union
Environmental Impact Assessments, Cooperation, Jurisdiction

This case was concerned with a national law that did not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) to be carried out for certain types of projects. The question brought forward to the court was whether this law is compatible with Directive 85/337/EEC.
Article 4(2) of this Directive prescribes that determining what projects should be subject to an assessment is at the Member States’ discretion.
The court had to answer whether Article 4(2) means that specifying projects requiring EIAs is at the absolute discretion of the Member States or whether it is limited by Article 2(1) containing the obligation to subject projects that are likely to have significant effects on the environment to an assessment.

The court decided that blocking the application of EIAs for entire categories of projects exceeds the limits of the Member State’s discretion unless the project category is created with the characteristic of not being likely to have significant effects on the environment.