Commission v Hellenic Republic. Special Protection

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave judgement this month in the case of European Commission v Hellenic Republic (Case C-166/04).

The case concerned allegations by the Commission, that Greece had failed to take all the measures necessary for laying down and implementing a "cohesive, specific and integrated legal regime" that would ensure the sustainable management and effective protection of a number of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) as designated under the Wild Birds Directive (Directive 79/409/EEC) and had therefore failed to fulfil its obligations under Articles 4(1) and (2) of that Directive.

While a number of areas of Greece were the subject of the original complaint by the Commission, the case that ultimately came before the Court concerned the Messolonghi Lagoon within Greece. In its judgement of 27 October 2005, the Court held that Greece had failed to adequately protect and manage the Messolonghi Lagoon within Greece, and therefore in the light of the conservation objectives of the Wild Bird Directive had failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 4(1) and (2) of that directive.

The judgement of the case is currently only available in Greek and French though should shortly be available in English at the following link:



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