Environmental enforcement capacity remains a major issue throughout the countries of Southeast Europe and Moldova, due largely to weaknesses in monitoring, resource limitations, and the lack of progress in implementing the EU environmental standards that the Environmental Crime Directive seeks to strengthen.
This is one of the key conclusions from a report on compliance with the EU Environmental Crime Directive in the Countries of Southeast Europe and Moldova released today by the Themis Network.
The report details the harmonization of national criminal law with the Environmental Crime Directive in the states of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia in their capacity as EU candidates, potential candidates and associated countries.
(*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.)
Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law is an essential piece of EU legislation in presenting a unified approach to environmental protection across the European Union. The Directive compels EU Member States to provide criminal penalties for a minimum set of offenses against the environment in an effort to increase compliance with EU environmental law.
The report found that all states in Southeastern Europe have introduced crimes against the environment into their criminal codes. However, harmonization of national penal codes with the crimes included in the Environmental Crime Directive varies significantly by state, with some states achieving essentially full compliance and others including only basic pollution crimes. Many crimes are “partially harmonized”, criminalizing only certain aspects of the offenses listed in the Directive. Sanctions imposed for environmental crimes, particularly with regard to the size of fines imposed, also vary significantly from state to state. All states provide for both accomplice liability and liability of legal persons, as required by the Directive.
Source: Themis network