Inadequate inspection regime in France earns largest ECJ penalty

The European Court of Justice has imposed the largest ever financial sanction against a Member State for failing to comply with a judgment concerning implementation of Community obligations. Commission v French Republic (C-304/02, European Court of Justice, 12 July 2005) resulted in a penalty of nearly €60 million for every six months France continues to remain in breach of fishery conservation requirements, together with a further lump sum of €20 million. The court found there to be an inadequate national inspection and enforcement system, an issue that has wider resonance in environmental law.

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