IMPEL Mini Conference on Compliance Assurance
Project description and aims
Member States must have appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with EU derived obligations (EU directives and regulations concerning environment). Non-compliance may occur for different reasons, including confusion, poor understanding or lack of acceptance of rules, lack of investment, opportunism and criminality. Its impacts on the environment, human health and the economy will depend on the nature, scale and persistence of breaches. In practice, mechanisms for securing compliance involve Member States using three broad classes of intervention (collectively referred to as ‘environmental compliance assurance’) as stated in COM(2018)10 of the Commission:
1. Compliance promotion helps duty-holders to comply through means such as guidance, ‘frequently asked questions’ and help-desks.
2. Compliance monitoring identifies and characterises duty-holder conduct and detects and assesses any non-compliance (specific cases of non-compliance or more broad compliance problems in an industrial sector or an area…), using environmental inspections and other checks.
3. Follow-up & enforcement draw on administrative, criminal and civil law to stop, deter, sanction and obtain redress for non-compliant conduct and encourage compliance.
IMPEL members, mostly inspection and enforcement organizations, often have their main focus on compliance monitoring and follow-up & enforcement as the main strategies for assuring compliance and they have a legal framework for implementation of both strategies. Compliance promotion is more in the grey zone, sometimes not being legally incorporated, sometimes the task of other organizations, sometimes neglected as a strategy for securing compliance, sometimes seen as too soft… It is also a bit in the grey zone because it is usually reduced to tools as guidance and information… Although compliance promotion could be understood more broadly as the set of actions to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of legal obligations among the target group concerned, thus bringing about a lasting change in behaviour, in order to achieve voluntary and correct compliance with the regulations. Moreover, compliance promotion could be in some cases a more adequate strategy for tackling more broad compliance problems than mere inspections and enforcement.
A Flemish study on behalf of the Department of Environment and Spatial Development, executed by Professor Kurt Deketelaere (Faculty of Law, University of Leuven and University of Helsinki ), made an inventory of ‘the instruments’ of compliance promotion, with the help of some IMPEL colleagues. Existing examples of broadly defined compliance promotion have been classified in 4 categories: information and training, technical assistance, transparent communication and compliance incentives. The mini conference aimed to give an overview of the full potential of compliance promotion as a full-fledged strategy that stands and works together with the strategies of compliance monitoring and follow-up & enforcement.
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS - EU actions to improve environmental compliance and governance
Number: – Status: Completed – Period: 2022 – Topic: Cross-cutting tools and approaches - Tags: