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S&Ds: Polluters and environmental offenders must face a punishment that fits the crime

Date

16 Dec 2021

Sections

Climate & Environment

S&D MEPs welcome the Commission’s proposal to upgrade the out-dated Environmental Crimes Directive, as outlined in a Parliamentary report on environmental liability in May 2021. However, the S&D Group believes the EU should go further in protecting the environment through criminal law than the Commission’s proposals today by recognising ecocide as a crime under EU law. Harsher sanctions on lawbreakers and stronger enforcement are important steps in deterring environmental crimes and protecting the planet.

Tiemo Wölken, S&D spokesperson for legal affairs, said:

“The evidence that environmental crimes are taking place within the EU is crystal clear. Yet the rates of prosecution against companies in environmental cases is still far too low in the EU. We fully support changes to EU laws that harmonise how we classify environmental crimes in the EU and that ensures sanctions are enforced in full. Socialists and democrats believe we need to go much further by recognising ecocide as an environmental crime under EU law. Mass environmental damage is irreversible and future generations will have to live with the consequences. This has to stop and dragging offenders into courts to be tried on environmental crimes would be a very effective deterrent. The Parliament is ready to substantially improve the proposal in order to ascertain the role of the EU as a global leader on environmental protection.

“With nowhere to hide and no more legal confusion and loopholes, we can make sure polluters and offenders face a punishment that fits the crime. In a parliamentary report on environmental liability for companies earlier this year, MEPs voted for an update of the Environmental Crimes Directive and an upgrade to the EU’s 20-year old environmental liability rules. By giving clearer definitions to environmental crimes, as well as extending the list to new types and patterns of crimes, we can end any hesitation or uncertainty in the EU when it comes to prosecuting liable companies. We have a duty to protect our planet and it is high time companies paid for their crimes against our planet.”

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