Merkel in trouble! Germany risks fine from European Commission as Brussels bloc not happy

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The European Commission is growing unhappy over Germany not meeting the requirements of the bloc’s new Fertiliser Ordinance. This has included Germany failing to meet the bloc’s standards of the protection of groundwater, as Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner said last month that high levels of nitrate was found in the water. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture said it would be taking this “very seriously”.

But EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius even threatened to take the case to the European Court of Justice if the issues do not improve.

This could mean Germany could be slapped with a fine.

It comes after the new Fertiliser Ordinance came was brought in on May 1, 2020.

It prevents fertilisation taking place in areas where the nitrate pollution in the groundwater is high.

High levels of nitrate in drinking water can be dangerous to the health.

Nitrates can also damage rivers, streams, lakes and oceans as they create algae blooms and low oxygen levels in water, which then threatens some of the aquatic species in the water.

Back in 2018, the EU country was taken to the ECJ again, where is was ruled that Germany had broken the European Nitrates Directive after polluting the groundwater.

Germany was deemed to have the second-highest levels of nitrate in groundwater in the EU.

The only other member state with higher levels was Malta.

Earlier this year, the Commission also accused Germany of failing to produce sufficient conservation plans for more than 4,000 sites deemed important for protecting nature.

It said in a statement on its website: “The Commission issued a letter of formal notice in 2015 and, after thorough discussions with the German authorities, sent a complementary letter of formal notice in 2019, followed by a reasoned opinion in February 2020.

“According to the latest information provided by the authorities, Germany is still failing to designate a significant number of sites as SACs.

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“In addition, the Commission considers that the conservation objectives set for sites in Germany are not sufficiently quantified, measurable and reportable.

“In conclusion, the Commission considers that there has been a general and persistent practice of failing to set sufficiently detailed and quantified conservation objectives for all 4606 Sites of Community Importance, in all Länder and at federal level.

“This has a significant impact on the quality and effectiveness of the conservation measures established.

“The Commission is therefore referring Germany to the Court of Justice of the EU.”

Germany was specifically criticised for failing to enforce the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive for the conservation of natural habitats and the protection of wild animals and plants.

Another area that came under fire was the designation of protected areas in order to protect or restore the population of species.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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