You are on page 1of 2

15.8.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 258/11

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT Oberverwaltungsgericht (Higher Administrative Court,
(Sixth Chamber) Schleswig-Holstein) (Germany), for a preliminary ruling in
the proceedings pending before that Court between
of 17 June 1998 Wilhelm Mecklenburg and Kreis Pinneberg Ð Der
in Case C-68/96 (reference for a preliminary ruling from Landrat, intervening party: Der Vertreter des öffentlichen
the Tribunale di Trento): Grundig Italiana SpA v Interesses, Kiel Ð on the interpretation of Articles 2(a)
Ministero delle Finanze (1) and 3(2), third indent, of Council Directive 90/313/EEC of
7 June 1990 on the freedom of access to information on
(National tax on audiovisual and photo-optical products the environment (OJ L 158 of 23.6.1990, p. 56) Ð the
Ð Internal taxation Ð Possible incompatibility with Court (Sixth Chamber), composed of: H. Ragnemalm,
Community law) President of the Chamber, R. Schintgen (Rapporteur), G. F.
(98/C 258/19) Mancini, J. L. Murray and G. Hirsch, Judges; A. La
Pergola, Advocate General; D. Louterman-Hubeau,
(Language of the case: Italian) Principal Administrator, for the Registrar, has given a
judgment on 17 June 1998, in which it has ruled:
(Provisional translation; the definitive translation will be
published in the European Court Reports) 1. Article 2(a) of Council Directive 90/313/EEC of 7 June
1990 on the freedom of access to informationon the
In Case C-68/96: reference to the Court under Article 177 environment is to be interpreted as covering a
of the EC Treaty by the Tribunale di Trento (Italy) for a statement of views given by a countryside protection
preliminary ruling in the proceedings pending before that authority in development consent proceedings if that
Court between Grundig Italiana SpA and Ministero delle statement is capable of influencing the outcome of
Finanze Ð on the interpretation of Article 95 of the EC those proceedings as regards interests pertaining to the
Treaty Ð the Court (Sixth Chamber), composed of: H. protection of the environment.
Ragnemalm, President of the Chamber, G. F. Mancini and
J. L. Murray (Rapporteur), Judges; C. O. Lenz, Advocate
2. The term preliminary investigation proceedings' in the
General; L. Hewlett, Administrator, for the Registrar, has
third indent of Article 3(2) of the Directive is to be
given a judgment on 17 June 1998, in which it has ruled:
interpreted as including an administrative procedure
such as that referred to in Paragraph 7(1)(2) of the
Article 95 of the EC Treaty must be interpreted as Umweltinformationsgesetz, which merely prepares the
precluding a Member State from introducing and levying a way for an administrative measure, only if it
consumption tax in so far as the taxable amount and the immediately precedes a contentious or quasi-
procedure for collecting the tax are different for domestic contentious procedure and arises from the need to
products and for products imported from other Member obtain proof or to investigate a matter prior to the
States. opening of the actual procedure.

(1) OJ C 133 of 4.5.1996.
(1) OJ C 354 of 23.11.1996.

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
(Sixth Chamber) JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
of 17 June 1998 (Sixth Chamber)

in Case C-321/96 (reference for a preliminary ruling from of 17 June 1998
the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Oberverwaltungsgericht): in Case C-214/97: Commission of the European
Wilhelm Mecklenburg v Kreis Pinneberg Ð Der Landrat, Communities v Portuguese Republic (1)
intervening party: Der Vertreter des öffentlichen Interesses,
Kiel (1) (Failure of a Member State to fulfil its obligations Ð
Directive 75/440/EEC Ð Failure to transpose within the
(Environment Ð Access to information Ð Directive 90/ prescribed period)
313/EEC Ð Administrative measure for the protection of
the environment Ð Preliminary investigation proceedings) (98/C 258/21)
(98/C 258/20)
(Language of the case: Portuguese)
(Language of the case: German)

(Provisional translation; the definitive translation will be
(Provisional translation; the definitive translation will be
published in the European Court Reports)
published in the European Court Reports)

In Case C-321/96: reference to the Court under Article 177 In Case C-214/97: Commission of the European
of the EC Treaty from the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Communities (Agent: Francisco de Sousa Fialho) v
C 258/12 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 15.8.98

Portuguese Republic (Agents: Luís Fernandes and JoaÄo EEC of 4 May 1976 on pollution caused by certain
Lopes Fernandes) Ð application for a declaration that, by dangerous substances discharged into the aquatic
failing to draw up a systematic plan of action and time- environment of the Community (1), the Kingdom of the
table for the improvement of surface waters and, in the Netherlands has failed to fulfil its obligations under
alternative, by failing to inform the Commission forthwith that Directive and under Article 189 of the EC Treaty;
of such measures, the Portuguese Republic has failed to
fulfil its obligations under the third paragraph of
Article 189 of the EC Treaty and the provisions of (2) orders the Kingdom of the Netherlands to pay the
Council Directive 75/440/EEC of 16 June 1975 concerning costs.
the quality required of surface water intended for the
abstraction of drinking water in the Member States (OJ
L 194 of 25.7.1975, p. 26) Ð the Court (Sixth Chamber), Pleas in law and main arguments adduced in support:
composed of: H. Ragnemalm, President of the Chamber,
G. F. Mancini, J. L. Murray, G. Hirsch and K. M.
Ioannou (Rapporteur), Judges; D. Ruiz-Jarobo Colomer,
The Commission considers that the Kingdom of the
Advocate General; R. Grass, Registrar, has given a
Netherlands has infringed Directive 76/464/EEC (the
judgment on 17 June 1998, in which it:
Directive') by failing to lay down quality objectives in
relation to certain substances referred to in the Directive.

1. Declares that, by failing to draw up a systematic plan
of action including a time-table for the improvement Ð Quality objectives in respect of the substances
of surface water, the Portuguese Republic has failed to enumerated in the first indent in List II in the Annex
fulfil its obligations under Article 4(2) of Council to the Directive: the fact that no Community limit
Directive 75/440/EEC of 16 June 1975 concerning the values have been fixed for certain families and groups
quality required of surface water intended for the of substances in List I in the Annex to the Directive
abstraction of drinking water in the Member States; means that those substances fall within the scope of
List II in that Annex. Moreover, it cannot be inferred
from the phrase substances in List I for which the
limit values . . . have not been determined' that this
2. Orders the Portuguese Republic to pay the costs.
must be done by the giving of express notice. Even if
the factual situation was unclear as regards the
(1) OJ C 228 of 26.7.1997. initiatives of the Commission and the Council or as to
whether or not specific Community limit values were
to be fixed, that cannot in any way justify the
conclusion that a Member State is consequently
released from the obligation to establish programmes
for those families or groups of substances in
accordance with Article 7(1), (2) and (3) of the
Directive.
Action brought on 17 April 1998 by the Commission of
the European Communities against the Kingdom of the
Netherlands The fixing of emission standards on the basis of the
best technical means available does not satisfy the
(Case C-152/98) requirement of legal certainty, which must be fulfilled
(98/C 258/22) whenever directives are transposed.

Ð Quality objectives in respect of the substances
An action against the Kingdom of the Netherlands was enumerated in the second indent in List II in the
brought before the Court of Justice of the European Annex to the Directive: the Kingdom of the
Communities on 17 April 1998 by the Commission of the Netherlands has failed to lay down quality objectives
European Communities, represented by H. van Lier, Legal for the fourth category referred to therein (organic
Adviser in its Legal Service, acting as Agent, with an compounds of silicone, etc.) and for certain substances
address for service in Luxembourg at the Office of Carlos in the first category (titanium, boron, uranium,
Gómez de la Cruz, of its Legal Service, Wagner Centre. tellurium and silver). The legal obligation to transpose
the Directive into national law is not removed,
however, by the possible existence of practical
difficulties, especially since other Member States have
The applicant claims that the Court should: managed to fulfil that obligation.

(1) OJ L 129 of 18.5.1976, p. 23.
(1) declare that, by failing to take adequate steps to
transpose into national law the provisions of
Article 7(1), (2) and (3) of Council Directive 76/464/