Environment: The Aarhus Regulation (debate) – Renew Vlad Gheorghe’s European Parliament speech on environmental protection through an unitary mechanism (19.05.2021).
I welcome the revision of Aarhus regulation. I welcome it because to me, nature protection is a matter of justice. It’s a matter of the rule of law. And a matter of responsibility in front of our children.
We rely on local authorities to faithfully implement EU environmental directives. But in our forests the bears are still illegally killed, the trees are illegally cut and the waste illegally trafficked. I say that we should stop it, and we should spear no effort on this.
First, we need to make NGOs and civil society a part of EU environmental policy. They need to have access to information, participation and justice. Where the efforts of Commission and national enforcement bodies are not enough, we need environmental NGOs to step in and become the watch dogs.
Nature cannot go to the court, therefore we need help from civil society to bring all criminals to justice, be they from royal families or not. Therefore, I appreciate that the text specifically mentions that judicial procedure should have an affordable price.
Second, we need a true pan-European mechanism on cross-border environmental crime investigation. We have no 27 environments in the EU, we have 1 common environment. For this reason, I expect the Commission to come up with a proposal of such mechanism, similar to EPPO. Let’s make European habitats free from crime!