Governance &Tools

Enforcement

As guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission has the responsibility of ensuring that Member States respect EU legislation. It plays the role of a “watchdog” with regard to correct implementation and application of EU law.

However, by looking at the enormous complexity of the EU’s ambitious environmental legislation the challenge of the task is clear. The Commission is continuously faced with lack of respect for EU law and has limited capacities to ensure its proper monitoring and enforcement.

This lack of enforcement is to the detriment of the environment and citizens’ health, leads to distortions of competition and, in addition, undermines the credibility of the EU.

In 2007, the Commission acknowledged that more needs to be done and that the EU and Member States should “…work to ensure that Community law is correctly applied and implemented and that citizens' enquiries and complaints are handled well.” It continues to say that this requires ”enhancing transparency and information exchange.”