open access

Abstract

In European Union law, the existence of an effective rem¬edy to challenge EU actions has been at the core of a heated ongo¬ing debate, since individual applicants and NGOs often have a hard time obtaining locus standi in annulment proceedings, due to the restrictive interpretation given by the European Court of Justice to the standing requirements provided by (the former) Article 230(4) of the EC Treaty. The aim of this paper is to show how access to justice before the EU courts for environmental NGOs has been significantly curtailed up to the present, and to discuss the changes to the standing test brought by the Lisbon Treaty by analysing its content and the (to date) limited interpretation given by the European Courts to the term ‘regulatory act’ introduced by the Treaty. On the basis of this examination, it will be shown how the recent amendments have not changed the position of NGOs who wish to challenge EU environmental measures and how, therefore, a significant gap in judicial protection and a potential violation of Articles 9(2) and (3) of the Aarhus Convention still remain.