no compensation for individuals, according to European justice

no compensation for individuals, according to European justice

For years, « JP », Ile-de-France whose health has been deteriorating since 2003, is claiming financial damages in court, believing that his condition is due to the inadequacy of the fight against air pollution. But according to a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered Thursday, December 22, there is no right to compensation for individuals.

“European directives setting standards for the quality of ambient air are not, as such, intended to confer rights on individuals, the violation of which would be likely to give them a right to compensation”says the CJEU.

On the other hand, “this does not exclude that the responsibility of the State can be engaged” and individuals “must nevertheless be able to obtain from the national authorities, possibly by seizing the competent courts, that they adopt the measures required by virtue of these directives”continues the instance.

Finally, the Court observes that the courts of a Member State may possibly issue injunctions accompanied by periodic penalty payments aimed at ensuring compliance by that State with the obligations arising from EU law.

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The CJEU issued this decree after being seized by the Administrative Court of Appeal of Versailles in charge of the JP case. The latter is claiming compensation from the French State for 21 million euros, considering that he has suffered damage due to the deterioration of his state of health, following the deterioration of the quality of the ambient air in the Paris region. .

France has already been sentenced in 2019 and then in April 2022 by the CJEU for air pollution, as have several other Member States.

40,000 premature deaths due to pollution

The French State has also already been condemned twice by the Council of State for not having acted sufficiently to fight against air pollution, with a total of 30 million euros in fines to date, paid to public organizations for the defense of the environment and some NGOs.

Pollution, linked in particular to car traffic, represents a major public health issue. Mortality linked to ambient air pollution remains a significant risk in France with 40,000 premature deaths attributable each year to fine particles, underlined Public Health France last year.

In the European Union, fine particle pollution caused 238,000 premature deaths in 2020, according to a report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) published on 24 November. Europe has set itself the target of reducing premature deaths by more than 50% in 2030 compared to 2005.


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