Luxembourg lax on legislation for water

Luxembourg has been hauled over the legal coals for failing to properly implement the EC's Water Framework Directive.

Commission v Luxembourg (Case C-32/05)

The Advocate General issued his Opinion on 18 May 2006, in the case of Commission v Luxembourg (Case C-32/05).

The Commission had sought a declaration of the Court to the effect that, by failing to adopt the measures necessary to comply with the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and, in any event, by failing to communicate them to the Commission, Luxembourg had failed to fulfil its obligations under that directive.

The Commission submitted that implementation of the Water Framework Directive required the adoption of a 'framework law' at national level, whereas Luxembourg considered that a framework directive does not necessarily require the adoption of specific formal legislative, regulatory or administrative measures for its correct implementation in the domestic legal order so long as the material objectives sought by the directive were complied with in practice by the various deadlines set out in the Directive.

The Advocate General found that by failing to communicate to the Commission the national laws, regulations and administrative provisions implementing the Water Framework Directive, with the exception of Article 3 thereof, Luxembourg has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 24 of that directive.

Luxembourg has also failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 24 of the Directive, by failing to adopt, within the prescribed time period, the national laws, regulations and administrative provisions in order to comply with Articles 2, 7(2) and 14 of the Water Framework Directive.

However, the Advocate General has recommended that the Court should dismiss the remainder of the action, in particular the arguments of the Commission in respect of transposition of the Directive through a single 'framework' piece of legislation.

The Advocate General was of the opinion that the Commission had failed to put forward any convincing argument that the Water Framework Directive requires the adoption of a framework law at national law in order to be fully effective, to the exclusion of any other means of implementation.

The full Opinion of the Advocate General can be found at the following link.

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