Dispute 01/2017: Bosnia and Herzegovina / environment
Summary of the dispute
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The dispute arose out of incompliance with Energy Community law of two environmental permits of two thermal power plants in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (TPP Banovići and TPP Tuzla). The permits were initially subject to complaints filed with the Energy Community Secretariat (Cases ECS-16/16 and ECS-17/16). According to the complainant, the environmental permits were in breach of the provisions of Directive 85/337/EEC on environmental impact assessment and Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions. In the Secretariat’s preliminary assessment, the two environmental permits caused legal uncertainty for developers, as the emission limit values in the domestic legislation were lower than the ones in the Energy Community acquis. Meeting only the emission limit values of the domestic legislation would not be sufficient to operate a plant accordingly and would result in non-compliance with Directive 2010/75/EU and Directive 85/337/EEC.
Upon the preliminary assessment of the complaint, the Secretariat invited representatives of the Ministry to mediation within the Energy Community Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution and Mediation Centre, in accordance with Title III of the Procedural Act 2016/03/ECS of the Energy Community Secretariat (“Negotiations and Mediation in Dispute Settlement Procedures”). The authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to the mediation proposal by the Secretariat.
The mediation session, facilitated by Ms Anne-Karin Grill from the Energy Community Secretariat’s Panel of Mediators, took place on 27 July 2017 in Vienna. A settlement agreement was signed on the same day. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed to change the two permits so that they comply with the requirements on industrial emissions for new plants. The Energy Community Secretariat agreed not to initiate infringement proceedings related to the environmental permits of TPP Banovići and TPP Tuzla 7 as long as the adoption of the changes to the environmental permits was pending. Once the changes described above were adopted, the Energy Community Secretariat closed Cases ECS-16/16 and ECS-17/16.
This was the first mediation conducted by the Energy Community Secretariat’s Dispute Resolution and Negotiation Centre as part of the Energy Community dispute settlement procedure.