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Competition Policy

Targeted Consultation on procedure for access to justice in environmental matters in relation to State aid decisions

The proposed new procedure aims to give public access to justice to challenge specific decisions on State aid measures that allegedly contravene EU Environmental Law

The European Commission has launched a targeted consultation to seek feedback from the business community and public authorities on a proposed new procedure aimed to give public access to judicial procedures to challenge specific decisions on State aid measures that allegedly contravene EU environmental law

The Commission is seeking feedback on the impact of the proposed procedure on EU policies, as well as on investment decisions and projects implementation by the business community. The targeted consultation will also gather information on the cost implications and administrative burden of the new procedure for businesses and Member States.

The targeted consultation will run from 1st July to 6th September 2024

Under the new procedure, eligible members of the public, such as environmental non-governmental organisations, would be able to ask the Commission for an internal review of a State aid decision for alleged violations of EU environmental law. The eligible applicants would have a right of redress before the EU Courts. The new procedure will give due consideration to the special characteristics of State aid law and its effectiveness, including the speed of the EU procedures. It will consider the role State aid plays for the European Green Deal, as well as for ensuring economic and financial stability for the internal market in times of crisis.

The targeted consultation is addressed to:

  • the business community (undertakings, business associations, investors)
  • the relevant public authorities dealing with State aid and environmental matters. 

This consultation follows up on the 2021 findings of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee concluding the EU is in breach of the Aarhus Convention, because the public cannot challenge State aid decisions adopted under Article 108(2) TFEU if these decisions allegedly breach EU environmental law. On 17 May 2023, the Commission adopted a Communication identifying options to follow up on the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee’s findings with the aim of creating a new procedure. A call for evidence was launched by the Commission on 30 May 2024. 

The Commission intends to publish a Commission Staff Working Document assessing the scope, content and likely impacts of the initiative in the second quarter of 2025, which will summarise the information received in the targeted consultation.