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Review of RMCEI 2007-2008

On 17 November 2007 the Commission adopted a Communication on the review of Recommendation 2001/331/EC outlining its initial views on how to further develop the Recommendation and a Report on the implementation of the Recommendation in Member States summarising the information received from Member States.

In this Communication, the Commission concluded that, although the RMCEI has led to improvements of environmental inspections in some Member States, it has not been fully implemented in all Member States. The Commission set out the following ideas how environmental inspections could be improved:

  • modify the RMCEI to make it stronger and clearer, including a better reporting mechanism
  • where necessary, complement the RMCEI with legally binding inspection requirements in sectoral environment legislation, and
  • continue supporting the exchange of information and best practice between the national enforcement authorities in the context of IMPEL.

The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environment Law (IMPEL) provided its input to the review process through a report on the possibility for further development of the RMCEI.

The Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on the Commission's Communication in April 2008.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution that calls for the transformation of the RMCEI into a directive and the establishment of an EU environmental inspection force with powers of entry and powers to refer Member States to the European Court of Justice.

The Commission launched a public consultation on the review of the Recommendation, which ran from 18 June to 18 September 2008. The questions asked concerned the functioning of environmental inspection systems in the Member States, the need for measures at EU level and in the affirmative the type of measures deemed necessary. 138 replies to the consultation were received. A summary of the replies can be found through the following link.

Subsequent developments

A joint Commission-IMPEL seminar on environmental inspections took place in November 2010 to explore the ways for improving efficiency and effectiveness of environmental inspections across the EU, particularly with a view to the upcoming specific inspection regime in the field of prevention of industrial pollution.

On 15 June 2011, a stakeholder conference on implementation of EU environment law organized by DG Environment took place focusing inter alia on environmental inspections at EU and national level. An impact assessment study into possible options for revising Recommendation 2001/331/EC providing for minimum criteria for environmental inspections (RMCEI) has been undertaken.