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Europe court overturns EU ruling rejecting Netherlands automobile emissions law

[JURIST] The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website; JURIST news archive] Thursday ruled [opinion text] that the European Commission (EC) [official website; JURIST news archive] should not have overturned a Dutch law requiring all new diesel-fueled vehicles to be equipped with a soot filter. The Netherlands wanted to require the filters in an attempt to reduce particulate matter emitted by passenger vehicles. The ECJ found that expert testimony provided by the Netherlands demonstrated positive benefits of the policy that the EC court did not properly take into account, saying:

In fact, while the Court of Justice has recognised [sic] that the Commission, as part of its assessment of the merits of a request for derogation under Article 95(5) EC, may have to have recourse to outside experts in order to obtain their advice on new scientific evidence adduced in support of such request (see Land Oberösterreich and Austria v Commission, paragraph 32), the primary responsibility for making that assessment rests on the Commission, which must itself, if appropriate on the basis of the experts’ advice, properly take account of all the relevant evidence and explain, in its final decision, the essential considerations which led it to adopt that decision.
DutchNews.nl has more.

The European Court of First Instance ruled in June 2007 that the regulation would negatively impact the free market [opinion text] in the EU. Article 95 of the European Community Treaty [text] requires member states to notify the EC of environmental protections. The EC then has the authority to review the proposed policy, and can strike it to protect economic concerns. Member states have the right to appeal to the ECJ if a policy is overturned.

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