Does the EU suffer from an environmental democratic deficit? Access to information and public participation in environmental decision-making in a comparative perspective
PhD student: Mrs J. Richelle
Promotors: Mrs Dr M.G.W.M. Peeters, Mrs Prof M. Eliantonio
Duration: 1/2/2021 - 31/1/2025
From the air they breathe, to the water they consume or the waste they dispose of, to what extent can EU citizens have their say in environmental decision-making? Public participation and access to information in environmental matters are rights guaranteed by the UN Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (the Aarhus Convention), to which the EU and Member States are parties. Obstacles to full implementation of these rights have however been identified in the latest Aarhus Convention National Implementation Reports of EU Member States. The heterogeneous and possibly too low implementation of the Convention can be dangerous for democratic decision-making in the EU. As a proof, the case law of the CJEU on access to information and public participation in environmental decision-making has been growing over the past few years. This research aims (i) to find out whether EU law provisions related to air, water and waste legislation and their implementation in a sample of three Member States (Belgium, France and Ireland) comply with the requirements of the Aarhus Convention and (ii) to provide recommendations as to how compliance with public participation and access to information provisions in environmental matters can be better secured in the EU.