Answer to Written Question: Access to justice in matters relating to the environment and climate
(Source: European Parliament)
Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius
on behalf of the European Commission
Public access to justice in environmental matters is an important principle, which must be seen in a broader context, including the political agreement reached recently on the amendment of the Aarhus Regulation and the Court ruling referred to by the Honourable Member. On 14 October 2020, when the Commission adopted its proposal for the amendment of the Aarhus Regulation it also adopted a Communication on access to justice in environmental matters in the EU and its Member States.
This Communication describes the functioning of the EU’s legal order, the role of national courts in the Member States as ordinary courts of EU law notably for citizens concerned with legality of EU acts. National courts are part of the EU’s system of judicial protection, and the Communication outlines four priority areas of action that the Commission and Member States must take to improve citizens’ access to justice in environmental matters.
Moreover, with the political agreement reached between the co-legislators on the Aarhus Regulation, citizens will in the future have much broader access to request administrative review of EU acts than what is possible today. This also sends an important signal to citizens all over Europe that EU institutions are ready to face the test of accountability and public scrutiny, when it comes to ensuring environmental protection in the EU.
 Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies, OJ L 264, 25.9.2006, p. 13–19.
 Judgment of 25 March 2021, Carvalho and Others v European Parliament and Council of the European Union, case C-565/19 P, ECLI:EU:C:2021:252.
 COM(2020) 642 final.
 COM(2020) 643 final.