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Environmental Crime and the EU: Synthesis

Environmental Crime and the EU: Synthesis

Synthesis of the Research Project "European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime" (EFFACE)

The final synthesis of the 40 month long EFFACE research project is now available. The report is addressed at decision-makers and presents core findings from the EFFACE project in an accessible language. The final synthesis is available for download.

Drawing on the EFFACE work on data and impacts, the report highlights the often incomplete nature of data on environmental crime. It shows the difficulties in estimating the impacts of environmental crime in a quantitative manner. This is illustrated using the examples of poaching, illegal waste exports from the EU to China and forest fires.

Summarising EFFACE research on actors, instruments and institutions, the report describes the most important instruments at the EU level dealing with environmental crime. With regard to the Member States it sheds light at national legal frameworks on environmental crime as well as the functioning of enforcement institutions.

A further section is dedicated to weaknesses in the EU's efforts to address environmental crime in nine areas, including e.g. the system of sanctions or the role of NGOs. This section is based on the EFFACE report on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to the EU's approach in combatting environmental crime.

In the final section, the report presents the most important policy recommendations developed by EFFACE; a more extended version of these recommendations is published in a self-standing report.

Throughout the report, boxes highlight important insights from the EFFACE case studies.

Ecologic Institute coordinated the project and was reponsible for editing the EFFACE synthesis report.


Gerstetter, Christiane, Christoph Stefes, Andrew Farmer, Michael G. Faure, Teresa Fajardo del Castillo, Katharina Klaas, Mitsilegas Valsamis, et al. "Environmental Crime and the EU: Synthesis of the Research Project 'European Union Action to Fight Environmental Crime' EFFACE". Report in the framework of the EFFACE research project. Berlin: Ecologic Institute, 2016.

47 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

List of Boxes
List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction
2 EU-related environmental crime and its impacts – what do we know?
2 .1 How can we describe the impacts of environmental crime?
2.2 Environmental crime and its impacts: examples
3 EU and Member States' efforts to combat environmental crime
3.1 Actors and institutions addressing environmental crime
3.2 Instruments used to fight environmental crime: the EU level
3.3 Instruments used to fight environmental crime: the national level
4   Problems and shortcomings of the EU’s efforts to fight environmental crime
4 .1 Data and information management
4.2  Substantive environmental criminal law at the EU level
4.3  Systems of sanctions
4.4  Enforcement institutions and cooperation between them
4.5 Victims and civil society and their role in fighting environmental crime
4.6 The environmental liability directive (ELD)
4.7 The external dimension of EU action against environmental crime
4.8 Action on organised environmental crime
4.9 Corporate responsibility and liability
5   Policy recommendations
References to non-EFFACE documents
List of EFFACE reports

environmental crime, enforcement, policy analysis, EU environmental law, sanctions, environmental impacts, policy assessment, Europe, brochure, design, layout