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Thursday, October 18, 2018


The European Commission adopted on 9th February a White Paper on Environmental Liability. The objective of the Paper is to explore how the polluter pays principle - one of the key environmental principles in the EC Treaty - can best be applied to serve the aims of Community environmental policy.

Avoiding environmental damage is the main aim of this policy. The White Paper explores how a Community regime on environmental liability can best be shaped. Having explored different options for Community action, the Commission concludes that the most appropriate option is a Community framework directive on Environmental Liability.

The report refers to the international conventions that already exist, including those dealing with liability for oil pollution of the seas. The report states: “In light of recent marine pollution accidents, it should be examined if the international regime should be complemented by EC measures. The Commission will prepare a Communication on oil tanker safety (June 2000) examining, inter alia, the need for a complementary EC regime on liability for oil spills. Different options in this regard will be examined, taking into account the specific character of the sector. More in general, a future EC regime on environmental liability would have to clarify to which extent there is room for application in those areas that are already covered by international law.” A copy of the report can be obtained from: