The French government was ordered to pay €10 million last week, by the Council of State (Conseil d'État) for not having sufficiently strengthened its measures against air pollution.
This amount, the highest ever imposed to force the state to implement a decision of administrative justice, reflects the repeated failure of successive governments to fully implement the injunctions of the Council of State.
In July 2020, the Council of State had ordered the French government to act to improve air quality in several areas in France under penalty of a fine of €10 million per half-year delay. After receiving the elements transmitted by the executive to justify its action, as well as the observations of the requesting associations, the Council of State held a public hearing on July 12 last and concluded, in its statement published last week, that the measures taken so far are insufficient.
"They will not improve the situation in the shortest possible time, as the implementation of some of them remains uncertain and their effects have not been evaluated." For this reason, it condemns the State to pay the penalty of €10 million for the first half of 2021.
"We should not see the decision of the Council of State as a punishment," said Arnaud Gossement, a lawyer specializing in the environment. With this fine, the Council of State rather encourages the government to go faster in the reforms it has already initiated."