The nine offences listed by the draft directive, a copy of which was seen by the business daily, would be enforceable across the European Union and range from the illegal dumping of waste to the "taking or damaging" of protected wild flowers.

"Experience has shown that the existing systems of sanctions have not been sufficient to achieve complete compliance with laws for the protection of the environment," the directive said.

The directive also assigns minimum sentences for the most serious "green crimes", such as those that cause death, many of which are already crimes in some EU member states.