A legal victory for the European Commission boosts its power in the EU lawmaking process. The case centres on the EU governments’ “framework decision” to keep the prerogative of introducing criminal penalties for damaging the environment. The European Court of Justice has annulled the framework decision. It says protection of the environment is an essential objective of European
Community law and so the Commission should be allowed to put forward criminal penalties if they are in proportion to the offence. The ruling also strengthens the European Parliament in the legislative process; In this area it has co-decision authority. Britain’s opposition conservatives in the assembly, however, criticised the court’s decision, as seriously undermining EU member states’ powers.