Germany suffered a defeat on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at the European Union’s highest court in Luxembourg for breaches of a nature conservation law.
Berlin failed to designate a number of special protection areas and did not put in place the necessary conservation measures, judges ruled.
Germany now faces heavy fines.
In 2021 the European Commission sued Germany, alongside other EU countries in similar cases.
This was over the insufficient implementation of an EU directive on the conservation of natural habitats and the protection of wild fauna and flora.
The law foresaw the designation of protected areas in the EU states, including so-called conservation targets, to protect or restore the population of species in these zones.
The commission argued that Germany had not set enough conservation targets.
The judges partially ruled in favour of the commission, arguing that Germany had failed to designate 88 of its 4,606 sites as special areas of conservation as required under the law.
Additionally, the judgment stated that the obligatory conservation targets were not put in place for 737 of the 4,606 sites.
The court, however, rejected other complaints brought forward by the commission.