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Day of Action 30.03.21

The Aarhus Regulation and EU Accountability

What’s the problem?

The EU’s Aarhus Regulation amendment is currently being negotiated in Brussels. It represents an unparalleled opportunity for the EU to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of international law and its global leadership in improving environmental democracy and climate governance worldwide, and forms part of its commitments under the EU Green Deal. However, in a draft decision issued in January 2021, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee found that current proposals fall short of what is required for the EU to meet its compliance obligations under the Aarhus Convention. There are serious access to justice and rule of law implications if the EU’s Aarhus Regulation is not amended to bring it into compliance with the Aarhus Convention.


You can view a short trailer and explainer film below. These provide a brief introduction to some of the key debates. 

Below you can find a briefing paper, factsheet and Q&A which provide explanations of the central issues. These issues are explored in detail in the technical reports and summary documents contained in our Access to Justice Observatory and have been produced for EJNI by Alison Hough BL (Athlone Institute of Technology) and Dr Ciara Brennan (Newcastle University).

Briefing Paper


Partners working across the EU have produced a wealth of resources which shine a light on some of these critically important issues. ClientEarth’s article outlines their main concerns about the EU’s access to justice problem. They have also produced a short video which covers the issues in English, French, German and Polish. 

Legal professionals and academics from across Europe have expressed their concern about the EU’s Aarhus Regulation in a Declaration which has been publicised in the media today.



We will be hosting a free webinar on ‘The Aarhus Regulation and EU Accountability’ from 12-1h GMT (1-2h CET) on Tuesday 30th March 2021. Speakers include: Jeremy Wates (Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau); Harriet Mackaill-Hill (EU Climate and Energy Policy Co-Ordinator, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe); Alistair McGlone CBE (International Environmental Law Consultant); Anne Friel (Lawyer, Client Earth) and Alison Hough BL (Athlone Institute of Technology and EJNI). Join the event by registering here. The webinar will also be live-streamed via YouTube below and a recording will be available after the event.


Follow the Action via Social Media:

  • To get the latest updates on developments around the EU’s Aarhus Regulation, you can follow EJNI@EJNI_Online and EU partners who are at the frontline of the debate on twitter: ClientEarth @ClientEarth; Youth and Environment Europe @YEEnetwork; Climate Action (CAN) Europe @CANEurope; European Environmental Bureau @Green_Europe
  • Youth and Environment Europe (YEE) have been reporting the central issues in their Lights on Aarhus campaign and will be continuing to highlight issues via Instagram.

You can find a list of Twitter handles for EU National Environment Ministers here

Contact your MEP or national Environment Minister to tell them about your concerns relating to the EU’s Aarhus Regulation:

  • Our Contact Directory includes contact details for Environment Ministers across the EU and Irish MEPs. The Contact Directory and an adaptable email template can be accessed here.
  • Citizens across the EU can find out who their MEP is and how to contact them here.

If you need help to contact your political representative, please contact us via