Answer to Written Question: Wind farms in the Aegean

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius

on behalf of the European Commission


The Commission has no information on the projects in question other than the media reports it refers to. Without prejudice to the Commission’s role as guardian of the Treaties, it is primarily the responsibility of the Greek authorities to ensure that wind farms are developed in full compliance with EU environmental legislation, including the Environment Impact Assessment Directive[1], which implements the Aarhus Convention’s[2] requirements on public participation and consultation for certain projects.

Moreover, in accordance with Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive[3], the authorities can only approve the plans and projects likely to affect Natura 2000 sites if they have ascertained that they do not adversely affect the integrity of the sites in view of their conservation objectives, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects. The authorities can prescribe certain conditions and mitigation measures to avoid and reduce the negative effects of projects and they need to monitor their implementation. The Commission has published guidance on wind energy developments and EU nature legislation[4].

The Commission has started an infringement procedure against Greece for failure to comply with applicable EU legislation as regards planning and permitting of wind farms[5]. In addition, on 17 December 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU condemned Greece for not having established the necessary conservation objectives and measures for all sites designated as special areas of conservation. The Commission will enforce the ruling also to ensure that the assessment of wind farm projects is in line with the EU legislation.

[1] Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, p. 1–21 as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014, OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1–18.

[2] The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.

[3] Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7–50.


[5] Case 2014/4073.

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