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Access to environmental justice in Flanders in light of the Aarhus Regulation review: Contradiction or alignment?

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van Thuyne Gauthier
Gauthier van Thuyne

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14 June 2021

Recently, the Flemish Government published a proposal amending the functioning of inter alia the Council for Permit Disputes (a regional administrative court), which also has procedural ramifications for access to justice.[1]

Simultaneously, the EU is reviewing the existing Regulation on the application of the Aarhus Convention within the EU and has made a legislative proposal available as well.[2] This contribution will connect the pending EU initiative on reviewing the application of the Aarhus Convention in the EU to the regional efforts amending access to justice (in environmental matters) in procedures before the administrative courts.

[1] Between 20 October and 24 November 2020, it also held a public inquiry on the application of the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information in Belgium. Omgeving Vlaanderen, “Aarhus”, available at https://omgeving.vlaanderen.be/aarhus.

[2] Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Regulation no. 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision –making and access to justice in environmental matters to community institutions and bodies, 24 October 2020, available at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/com/2020/0642/COM_COM(2020)0642_EN.pdf.