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EU Bodies Reach Agreement on Environmental Crime Directive  

The EU Parliament and Council have finalised elements of the revised EU Environmental Crime Directive (ECD), with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) European Policy Office commending the “high integrity and overall ambition of the final compromise text”. A notable aspect of the law is the introduction of common sanction levels for both natural and legal persons, according to the WWF, which argues that this is key to deterring offenders and support cross-border cooperation. But it also says the agreed sanction levels fall short of expectations, with fines and maximum prison term being insufficiently dissuasive. “Having harmonised sanction levels across the entire EU is a step in the right direction, but the current levels are not reflecting the gravity of environmental crimes,” said Audrey Chambaudet, Wildlife Trade & Wildlife Crime Policy Officer at the WWF European Policy Office. “Thanks to the determination of the European Parliament, the inclusion of a qualified offense covering the most severe environmental crimes, punishable by higher sanctions, adds teeth to the law and will provide competent authorities with a new tool in their arsenal.”

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