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Directive (EU) 2024/1203 on the protection of the environment through criminal law and replacing Directives 2008/99/EC and 2009/123/EC.

Type of law

The purpose of this Directive is to protect the environment more effectively by preventing and combating environmental crime and effectively enforcing Union environmental law. This Directive establishes minimum rules with regard to the definition of criminal offences and penalties and measures to be taken by the Member States.
This Directive underlines that the conduct listed in paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 3, where it is intentional, and conduct referred to in paragraph 4 of Article 3, where it is carried out with at least serious negligence, constitutes a criminal offence where that conduct is unlawful. The criminal offences include, but not limited to: discharge, emission or introduction of a quantity of hazardous substances, energy or ionising radiation into air, soil or water; substantial damage to an ecosystem, animals or plants; ship-source discharge of polluting substances which causes or is likely to cause deterioration in the quality of water or damage to the marine environment; the killing, destruction, taking of, possession, sale or offering for sale of a specimen or specimens of a species of wild fauna or flora; the trade of a specimen or specimens, or parts or derivatives thereof, of an endangered species of wild fauna or flora; deterioration of a habitat within a protected site; the bringing into the territory of the Union, placing on the market, keeping, breeding, transporting, using, exchanging, permitting to reproduce, growing or cultivating, releasing into the environment, or the spreading of invasive alien species of Union concern; and the production, placing on the market, import, export, use, or release of ozone depleting substances and fluorinated greenhouse gases. The Commission will periodically review whether it is necessary to modify the criminal offences covered by Article 3(2).
Each Member State shall impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties for the offences referred to in Articles 3 and 4 and take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction over criminal offences. This Directive compels Member States to conduct information and awareness-raising campaigns targeting relevant stakeholders from the public and private sector, as well as research and education programmes, in order to reduce environmental criminal offences and the risk of environmental crime. Furthermore, Member States are required to establish and publish a national strategy on combatting environmental criminal offences by 21 May 2027.
Date of text
Entry into force notes
This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Serial Imprint
Official Journal of the European Union L Series, 30 April 2024.
Source language


Legislation status
in force
Legislation Amendment