Docent of Environmental Law
University of Tartu
Problems in Transposing
the European Union’s Nature
into Estonian Law and Plans
for Solving Them
1. The problem
This is a very exciting and eventful time for Estonian environmental law. The codiﬁ cation of environmental
law that was started in 2007*1 is being continued with a ﬁ nal aim of establishing the Environmental Code.
On 16 February of this year, the Riigikogu adopted the General Part of the Environmental Code Act*2 (here-
inafter referred to as the GPECA), which sets forth the fundamental concepts of environmental law, the
principles of environmental protection, the main environmental obligations, environmental rights, and the
procedure for the new integrated environmental permit. However, the GPECA is still just the ﬁ rst step in
codiﬁ cation of environmental law. In December 2010, the Environmental Law Codiﬁ cation Working Group,
which the author of this article heads, presented the ﬁ rst version of the voluminous draft (with more than
1,100 sections) of the Special Part of the Environmental Code (hereinafter referred to as the SPEC) to the
Minister of Justice. This was then presented to various ministries and the most important interest groups*3
by the time this article was written. In addition, what is known as the (extended) Draft General Part of the
Environmental Code Act*4 has been prepared, containing regulation of environmental impact assessments,
environmental monitoring, environmental supervision, and environmental liability. Work on these two
drafts is what has given the author inspiration for writing this article.
1 See H. Veinla. Basic Structures of the Draft General Part of Environmental Code Act. – Juridica International 2010 (XVII),
2 Keskkonnaseadustiku üldosa seadus. – RT I, 28.2.2011, 1 (in Estonian). The Act enters into force together with entry into
force of the Special Part of the Environmental Code.
3 The Draft is available at http://www.just.ee/orb.aw/class=ﬁ le/action=preview/id=53099/Keskkonnaseadustiku+eriosa+s
eaduse+eeln%F5u.pdf (11.4.2011) (in Estonian).
4 I would like to clarify that passing of the Environmetal Code in the Riigikogu takes place in different stages according to the
plan. The ﬁ rst, General Part of Environmental Code Act, has already been passed, although this small general part has to be
improved in the future with new chapters on the so-called horizontal areas of the environmental law (environmental impact
assessment, monitoring, environmental liability, environmental supervision) that are applicable in all areas of environmental
protection. These new chapters have been delayed so far because plenty of disputes are still inconclusive on these issues.
132 JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL XVIII/2011