More than 30 dams register less than 40% capacity

EU threatens Portugal with sanctions for failing to comply with environmental conservation ruling

Portugal “could face financial penalties” 

As citizens in Albufeira mobilised against what they believe is an “environmental crime”, the European Commission announced it has opened two cases against Portugal at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for failure to comply with a ruling on the conservation of sites of Community importance, threatening sanctions.

In a statement, the EU executive announced its decision to take Portugal to task for failing to comply with a December 5 ruling that called on the country to designate 61 “sites of Community importance” as “special places of conservation”, as required by the European directive on habitat conservation.

The court also declared that Portugal had failed to adopt the necessary conservation measures for these sites.

Following the ruling, Portugal formally designated the 61 sites in question by adopting a specific decree, but this designation is not enough to comply with the ruling, because Portugal also needs to adopt conservation objectives and measures, says the Commission.

For this reason, Ursula von der Leyen’s executive “decided to refer the matter back” to the CJEU.

As this is the second action brought before the court for Portugal on the same subject, “it could result in the imposition of financial penalties for the time elapsing after the date of the first judgment until compliance is verified”, said the statement.

And in another statement also issued yesterday, Brussels announced that Portugal is among a group of countries, including Spain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Malta and Slovakia, that have been sued in the CJEU for non-compliance with the revision of river basin management plans.

The directive in question, said the Commission, “focuses on ensuring the good qualitative and quantitative health of European bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes”, and aims to eliminate pollution, “as well as guaranteeing the availability of sufficient water to satisfy both human needs and wildlife”.

The countries in question “continue to fail to meet their obligations under the directives” and the efforts made by the Portuguese authorities to date “have been insufficient”.

Source material: LUSA