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Case C-236/92
Comitato di coordinamento per la difesa della Cava and others
Regione Lombardia and others
[1994] ECR I-483


6 The first question seeks to establish whether Article 4 of the directive [Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste, OJournal 1975, L 194, p. 39]confers on individuals rights which the national courts must safeguard.

7 That provision is worded as follows:

"Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that waste is disposed of without endangering human health and without harming the environment, and in particular:

- without risk to water, air, soil and plants and animals,

- without causing a nuisance through noise or odours,

- without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest."

8 The Court has consistently held (see in particular the judgments in Case 8/81 Becker v Finanzamt Muenster-Innenstadt [1982] ECR 53 and Case 103/88 Fratelli Costanzo v Commune di Milano [1989] ECR 1839) that wherever the provisions of a directive appear, as far as their subject-matter is concerned, to be unconditional and sufficiently precise, those provisions may be relied upon by an individual against the State where the State fails to implement the directive in national law by the end of the period prescribed or where it fails to implement the directive correctly.

9 A Community provision is unconditional where it is not subject, in its implementation or effects, to the taking of any measure either by the institutions of the Community or by the Member States (see in particular the judgment in Case 28/67 Molkerei-Zentrale Westfalen v Hauptzollamt Paderborn [1968] ECR 143).

10 Moreover, a provision is sufficiently precise to be relied on by an individual and applied by the court where the obligation which it imposes is set out in unequivocal terms (judgments in Case 152/84 Marshall v Southampton and South-West Hampshire Health Authority [1986] ECR 723 and Case 71/85 Netherlands v Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging [1986] ECR 3855).

11 The provision in question does not display the above characteristics.

12 Considered in its context, Article 4 of the directive, which essentially repeats the terms of the third recital in the preamble, indicates a programme to be followed and sets out the objectives which the Member States must observe in their performance of the more specific obligations imposed on them by Articles 5 to 11 of the directive concerning planning, supervision and monitoring of waste-disposal operations.

13 It must also be noted that the Court has already held, in relation to the Member States' obligations under Article 10 of the directive, that that provision does not lay down any particular requirement restricting the freedom of the Member States regarding the way in which they organize the supervision of the activities referred to therein but that that freedom must be exercised having due regard to the objectives mentioned in the third recital in the preamble to the directive and Article 4 thereof (see the judgment in Joined Cases 372 to 374/85 Ministère Public v Traen [1987] ECR 2141).

14 Thus, the provision at issue must be regarded as defining the framework for the action to be taken by the Member States regarding the treatment of waste and not as requiring, in itself, the adoption of specific measures or a particular method of waste disposal. It is therefore neither unconditional nor sufficiently precise and thus is not capable of conferring rights on which individuals may rely as against the State.

15 It must therefore be stated in reply to the first question that Article 4 of the directive does not confer on individuals rights which the national courts must safeguard.

16 In view of the answer given to that question, it is unnecessary to answer the other questions submitted.

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