The European Court of Justice (TEJ) rejected the people’s appeal on behalf of the climate movement, which includes three Portuguese families, in a ruling that those responsible for the trial see as “devastating” and that “endangers” access to justice for European citizens . The assessment was made by Roda Verheyen, one of the lawyers’ coordinators, at an online press conference this Thursday.
In the decision now published, the TEJ agreed to the inadmissibility decision that had already formed the basis for the first decision of the General Court of the European Union (TGUE), which was unfavorable to the petitioners. Thursday’s ruling “definitely confirms the inadmissibility of the nullity action” of the previous ruling, the TEJ says.
For both decisions there is a rule in the founding treaty of the European Union, which states that a person can only legally challenge an EU legal act if it is individually affected. “The court takes a very restrictive interpretation of this rule. In this case, the court will say that you can only appeal against legal acts [da UE] when you are your recipient. If it is a case that affects many people, no one can sue. It is a well-rounded argument: He recognizes that there are many affected, but not the individual directly. It’s a scandal. The court invented this and continues to fall back on it, ”said Roda Verheyen, referring to the case law of the 1960s that fuel this interpretation.
The People for Climate movement legal team believes that in making this decision, “the main concern of the court is to prevent many people from appearing to be taking similar action,” and believes that this is a real issue with access to the Representing citizens to justice. said Gerd Winter, another coordinator of the legal team. Roda Verheyen confirmed that this was “a very sad day” and stated that “Access [dos cidadãos] twice rejected in court ”and said the legal team will now consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, where another climate-related case has been accepted and is ongoing by a group of Portuguese children and adolescents. Gerry Liston, of the team tracking the case who was present at the press conference that Thursday, summarized events so far and rated the fact that the court prioritized the case and called on the 33 target states as “very important” react.
The People for Climate movement, consisting of ten families from Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, Kenya, Fiji and the Swedish Saami Youth Association, pushed the process forward at the TGUE in May 2018. Those responsible for the action argued that the European Union was not doing everything in its power to curb climate change in light of its ambitions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which were 40% by 2030 and were considered insufficient to achieve stop the climate crisis and protect citizens.
Nuno Forner of the environmental organization Zero told the PUBLIC that the now known decision was not surprising, but there was “some hope” that the appeals court would not do what it did, “sign the previous decision from below”. . “The worst came out. The lack of access to justice in the European Union in relation to the environment is still proven, “he said, noting:” Not all is bad. “
And what is not bad, explains Nuno Forner, was also mentioned in the press conference by Harriet Mackaill-Hill from the European Climate Protection Network (CAN Europe): “It is a sad day, we are very disappointed and deeply concerned. However, I would like to say that these voices have been heard in the sense that the target of reducing emissions by 2030 has been raised to at least 55%, and some [líderes da UE] want more. It is a good step in the right direction, but it is still little if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, ”he said.