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One of the first achievements of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU – Political agreement with the EP to amend the Aarhus regulation

A political agreement with the European Parliament on the amendment of the Aarhus Regulation was reached as one of the first achievements of the Slovenian Presidency, which would not have been possible without the positive cooperation of the trio presidencies, as Germany reached an agreement at the Council, Portugal started negotiations with the European Parliament (EP) and Slovenia successfully concluded negotiations.

With this amendment, the European Union (EU) responds to the identified discrepancy with the Aarhus Convention and Slovenia is pleased that it has reached an agreement with the European Parliament in good time before the autumn meeting of the Parties to the Convention.

The amendment includes extending the possibility of requesting a review of specific EU administrative acts to NGOs and representatives of the public and sets out how to make these requests.

This possibility to request a review will be granted to individuals whose rights have been violated where an administrative act was contrary to environmental law. The possibility to request a review will also be provided for in cases where there is a broader public interest. The public interest criteria means the need must have been expressed by 4000 individuals from at least five Member States, with at least 250 individuals from each country. In both cases, representation by NGOs or lawyers will be required.

At this stage, the Regulation still excludes the possibility of requesting a review in connection with administrative acts concerning state aid. In this respect, however, it is expected that the incompatibility of the EU acquis with the Aarhus Convention will be eliminated in the next step.

The agreement also addresses the review costs and an obligation for the EU institutions to publish requests for the review of administrative acts.