Category Archives: Environment: cooperation with third countries

Our land, seas, rivers and air are under attack from factors which do not recognise international borders; when it comes to protecting the environment, the issues go well beyond the scope of national or regional considerations. The European Union and its individual Member States actively pursue a pro-environment policy in the context of successive EU enlargements, in bilateral relations with non-EU countries or regional groupings, and when negotiating and signing up to international agreements.

Pan-European cooperation after enlargement

Pan-European cooperation after enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pan-European cooperation after enlargement

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Pan-European cooperation after enlargement

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 6 February 2003, “Pan-European Environmental Cooperation after the 2003 Kiev Conference” [COM(2003) 62 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

In 1991, the Dobris Conference of European Environment Ministers marked the start of the Environment for Europe process. The conference aimed to establish a political framework for common action on the environment, and to promote sustainable development at pan-European level.

Further conferences held in Lucerne (1993), Sofia (1995) and Aarhus (1998) continued this process. The Kiev Conference (May 2003) was the most recent meeting of European Environment Ministers. The objective of the meeting was to define the future of the “Environment for Europe” process in an enlarged Europe including the new Member States in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This communication is the European Commission’s contribution to the conference.

The “Environment for Europe” process has two main roles:

  • it provides the political pan-European environmental framework for co-operation through the ministerial conferences co-ordinated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe;
  • it promotes environmental improvement in the CEEC/NIS, based on an Environmental Action Programme (EAP) agreed in 1993.

The main actors in the process are:

  • the Task Force of the Environmental Action Programme which aims to integrate environmental considerations into the processes of economic and political reform;
  • the Project Preparation Committee, set up to mobilise environmental investments in the CEEC/NIS;
  • the Regional Environment Centre (REC) for Central and Eastern Europe, based in Budapest, which assists in solving environmental problems in the region. Similar centres have also been established in Moldova, Ukraine, Caucasus, Central Asia and Russia.

Environmental cooperation between the EU and its European neighbours

At the Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development (2002), the Union and other European countries committed themselves to meeting targets of great importance for Europe as a whole, including:

  • improving the region’s environmental legislation with a view to harmonising EU standards;
  • partnerships to improve the environment in the countries bordering the new enlarged EU, such as the Regional Environmental Reconstruction Programme for South Eastern Europe, the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership, the Danube-Black Sea Task Force and the Euro-Mediterranean partnership;
  • taking account of the Doha Development Agenda.

Notwithstanding the global objectives, any strategy for EU environmental co-operation with its European neighbours will have to take a regionally differentiated approach. With regard to the candidate countries, the Commission will continue supporting the transposition and implementation of Union environmental legislation. The legal bases for this approach are the Association Agreements concluded with these countries and the Accession Partnership concluded with Turkey. Support will be available to the countries due to become Members in 2004 in the form of pre-accession assistance prior to enlargement, and after accession in the framework of the EU institutions

With regard to countries in South Eastern Europe, the Commission’s objective is to support their efforts to move closer to the EU. This approach is based on the Stabilisation and Association Process. Environmental assistance is provided through the CARDS programme.

In the case of the Western NIS and the Caucasus(Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), the objective is to move towards convergence of environmental policies and laws with EU environmental standards. With regard to cooperation with Russia, the main priorities are: combating climate change, efficient use of energy, improving public health, and improving resource efficiency. The cooperation is based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements in force for all the countries except Belarus. Two partnerships with these countries were launched on the occasion of the Johannesburg Conference: the Pan-European East-West Partnership for Sustainable Development and the Strategic Partnership on Water for Sustainable Development.

As regards the NIS countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), the objective is to promote security, democracy and prevent conflict through environmental cooperation, and also to encourage the sustainable use of natural resources and the implementation of international environmental agreements. Cooperation will be based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements or Trade and Cooperation Agreements concluded with certain countries in the region.

The future of the “Environment for Europe” process

Certain aspects of the “Environment for Europe” process have been taken over by the process of EU enlargement. Accordingly, the activities of the Environmental Action Programme Task Force and Project Preparation Committee have focused more on the non-candidate CEEC and the NIS. The NIS remain a major focus for the Commission with regard to pan-European environmental cooperation.

As a consequence of EU enlargement, EU environmental legislation will become the legal reference and the principal means of international law making for most countries of the region. The legislative role of “Environment for Europe” is therefore likely to diminish.

Enlargement will also change the role of the Regional Environmental Centres. Those in the new Member States will have to compete with other service providers. However, the RECs can still play an essential role in the cooperation with Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, South Eastern Europe and the NIS. Support will be increased for the five RECs in the NIS.

In conclusion, this communication sets out the fields on which the Commission intends to focus in future:

  • cooperating with EU neighbours on sustainable development;
  • pursuing environmental objectives through partnerships and political dialogue with neighbouring countries;
  • improving environmental understanding at pan-European level;
  • promoting the role of civil society in the environmental sector through the RECs.

Environmental integration in external relations

Environmental integration in external relations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environmental integration in external relations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Environmental integration in external relations

Document or Iniciative

Council strategy of 11 March 2002 at the European Council in Barcelona on environmental integration in the external policies of the General Affairs Council.

Summary

This strategy drawn up by the Council defines the objectives of action by the European Union (EU) and the Member States to ensure that environmental questions are taken into account when EU external policies are drawn up and implemented.

Its purpose is not to redefine or restate the core objectives of EU international environment policy, but to identify ways of pursuing these objectives in the conduct of external relations.

Environmental questions should be tackled in regular dialogues with third countries so as to establish a common approach to the environmental priorities to be set. With industrialised countries, the issues considered should be those which are the subject of international conventions or protocols or which have been discussed in multilateral fora. With developing countries, environmental concerns should be included in cooperation instruments and programmes.

In cross-cutting areas, the key objectives are as follows:

  • to support improvements in human rights, democratisation and governance, thus contributing also to environmental ends;
  • to ensure that environmental factors are fully addressed in conflict prevention activities, working to reduce tensions over access to and use of natural resources;
  • to promote the environmental dimension in all areas of post-conflict reconstruction.

Trade negotiations and relations must also take account of environmental concerns and the relationships between the international trading system and environmental agreements must be clarified. Corporate social responsibility should be encouraged at international level, as well as technical assistance, transfers of clean technology and the carrying out of impact assessments.

The international institutional framework should be improved, in particular by systematically integrating environmental considerations into the international institutions’ activities. Moreover, there should be greater cohesion between bilateral and multilateral discussions and between the various international organisations.

Context

The development of this strategy was requested by the European Council in Göteborg (June 2001). The European Council in Cardiff (June 1998) established the bases for coordinated action at Community level to integrate environmental considerations in EU policies.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 13 February 2002 – Towards a global partnership for sustainable development [

COM(2002) 82 final

– Not published in the Official Journal].


Regulation (EC) No 2493/2000

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 November 2000 on measures to promote the full integration of the environmental dimension in the development process of developing countries [Official Journal L 288 of 15.11.2000].

Communication from the Commission of 15 May 2000 – Integrating environment and sustainable development into economic and development cooperation policy – Elements of a comprehensive strategy [

COM(2000) 264

– Not published in the Official Journal].

United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 216/98/EC of 9 March 1998 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

Summary

The European Community (EC) adopted the United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought and/or desertification by means of this Decision.

The Council of the European Union, acting by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, has adopted the position to be taken by the EC at the Conference of the Parties where that body is called upon to adopt decisions that have legal effect.

The EC is represented at the Conference of the Parties by the Commission in the case of matters coming within Community powers.

The Convention

The aim of this United Nations Convention is to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in those countries experiencing serious drought/or desertification, particularly in Africa through effective action at all levels. These measures are underpinned by international cooperation and partnership arrangements, under an integrated approach complying with Agenda 21, to contribute to sustainable development in the areas concerned. Action 21 is an international action plan designed to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century.

The Convention consists of 40 articles and 5 annexes defining the arrangements for implementing the Convention in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Northern Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe.

Desertification is due primarily to human activity and climatic variations. It does not mean the advance of current areas of desert. It is the result of the extreme vulnerability of the ecosystems in arid areas to over-exploitation and inappropriate use of land. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices are all factors which have a deleterious impact on the productivity of the land.

Under the Convention measures to combat desertification include action to promote the integrated development of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas to:

  • prevent and/or reduce land degradation;
  • rehabilitate partly degraded land;
  • reclaim desertification areas.

The Convention is being implemented through national, sub-regional and regional programmes which are designed to form an integral part of a country’s national sustainable development policy. They are updated under an ongoing participative process in the light of work on the ground and the results of research.

Local communities play a key role in the formulation and implementation of these action programmes as they are dependent on the land.

Closer international cooperation between developed and developing countries is essential to implement the Convention. Nevertheless, the governments of the countries affected by desertification retain responsibility for the creation of an enabling environment to help local populations themselves bring an end to the process of land degradation. Governments must make politically sensitive changes such as greater decentralisation of decision-making, improvement of land tenure systems and empowerment of women and farmers.

The Convention does not have a centralised financial mechanism for projects but there is a Global Mechanism to help mobilise substantial financial resources from existing sources and to rationalise and improve their management.

The Conference of the Parties is the Convention’s supreme body. It is responsible for taking the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

Desertification poses the greatest threat in Africa. The disappearance of forest cover at a rate of 3.7 to 5 million hectares a year has an impact on surface and underground water, and 50 % of agricultural land on the African continent is affected by soil degradation and erosion.

The Convention was drawn up at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, was signed in 1994 and came into force on 26 December 1996. To date over 170 countries have ratified the Convention which is a legally binding instrument.

In October 2001 the 5th session of the Conference of the Parties set up a subsidiary body, the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (known under the acronym CRIC). The Committee reviews and analyses the national progress reports on the Convention’s implementation submitted to the Conference of the Parties by the Parties and by observers. Its aim is to use these examinations and analyses to improve the consistency, impact and efficiency of policies and programmes to restore the agro-ecological balance of dry areas.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 216/98/EC [adoption: simple consultation CNS/1997/0211] 19.3.1998 Official Journal L 83 of 13.3.1998

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2002/358/EC of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.

Summary

On 4 February 1991 the Council authorised the Commission to participate on behalf of the European Community in the negotiation of a United Nations framework convention on climate change, which was adopted in New York on 9 May 1992. The European Community ratified the Framework Convention by Decision 94/69/EC of 15 December 1993. The Framework Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

The Framework Convention made a large contribution towards the establishment of key principles of the international fight against climate change. In particular, it defines the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”. It also helped to make people the world over more aware of the problems linked to climate change. However, the Convention does not contain commitments in figures, detailed on a country by country basis, in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Berlin in March 1995, the Parties to the Convention decided to negotiate a Protocol containing measures to reduce emissions for the period beyond 2000 in the industrialised countries. After much work, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto.

The European Community signed the Protocol on 29 April 1998. In December 2001 the Laeken European Council confirmed that the Union wanted to see the Kyoto Protocol enter into force ahead of the Johannesburg world summit on sustainable development (26 August – 4 September 2002). To that end, this Decision approved the Protocol on behalf of the Community. The Member States were to coordinate their action to deposit their instruments of ratification at the same time as the Community, and as far as possible by 1 June 2002.

Annex II to the Decision sets out the commitments to limit and reduce emissions agreed by the Community and its Member States for the initial commitment period (2008 to 2012).

The contents of the Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol tackles emissions of six greenhouse gases:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • methane (CH4);
  • nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs);
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

It represents an important step forward in the effort to tackle global warming as it includes binding, quantified objectives for limiting and reducing greenhouse gases.

Overall, the Parties to Annex I to the Framework Convention (i.e. the industrialised countries) undertake collectively to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce the total emissions of the developed countries by at least 5 % below 1990 levels, during the period 2008 to 2012. Annex B to the Protocol contains the quantified commitments given by the Parties.

The States which were members of the EU before 2004 must collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012. Member States which joined the EU after that date undertake to reduce their emissions by 8 %, with the exception of Poland and Hungary (6 %), and Malta and Cyprus, which are not listed in Annex I to the Framework Convention.

For the period up to 2008, the Parties undertake to make demonstrable progress in achieving their commitments by no later than 2005.

Parties who so wish, may make 1995 a reference year for emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

The Protocol suggests various means of attaining these objectives:

  • stepping up or introducing national policies to reduce emissions (greater energy efficiency, promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture, development of renewable energy sources, etc.);
  • cooperation with the other Contracting Parties (exchanges of experience or information, coordination of national policies through emission permits, joint implementation and a clean development mechanism).

No later than one year prior to the start of the first commitment period, each Party must have set up a national system of the estimation of emissions of human origin and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases (not controlled by the Montreal Protocol).

Commitments will be reviewed by 2005 at the latest, for the second commitment period.

On 31 May 2002, the European Union ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Following its ratification by Russia, the Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Several industrialised countries have refused to ratify the Protocol, including the United States and Australia.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2002/358/EC

2.5.2002

OJ L 130 of 15.5.2002

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2006/944/EC of 14 December 2006 determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Council Decision 2002/358/EC [Official Journal L 358 of 16.12.2010].
Amended by:
Commission Decision 2010/778/EU of 15 December 2010 [Official Journal L 332 of 16.12.2010].

Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

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Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 81/691/EEC of 4 September 1981 on the conclusion of the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

Summary

The International Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources was adopted at the diplomatic conference held in Canberra (Australia) on 20 May 1980. This decision approves the convention on behalf of the European Community.

There has been an increase in the importance of safeguarding the environment and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem of the seas surrounding Antarctica, due to the concentration of living resources found in Antarctic waters and the increased interest in the possibilities offered by the utilisation of these resources as a source of protein. It is therefore vital to ensure the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

The Convention applies to the marine living resources of the area south of 60° South latitude and to the marine living resources of the area between that latitude and the Antarctic convergence which form part of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

In order to ensure the protection of marine living resources, any harvesting and associated activities must:

  • prevent the decrease in the size of any harvested population to levels below those ensuring its stable recruitment. For this purpose its size shall not be allowed to fall below a level close to that which ensures the greatest net annual increment of the population;
  • maintain the ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related populations of Antarctic marine living resources and restore depleted populations to the levels defined above; and
  • prevent changes or minimise the risk of changes in the marine ecosystem which are not potentially reversible over two or three decades, taking into account the state of available knowledge of the direct and indirect impact of harvesting, the effect of the introduction of alien species, the effects of associated activities on the marine ecosystem and the effects of environmental changes, with the aim of making possible the sustained conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

The Contracting Parties, whether or not they are Parties to the Antarctic Treaty, agree that they will not engage in any activities in the Treaty area contrary to the principles and purposes of that Treaty.

This Convention shall not derogate from the rights and obligations of Contracting Parties under the International Convention for the regulation of whaling and the Convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals.

A Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is established in a consultative capacity. This Committee may seek the advice of other scientists and experts as may be required on an ad hoc basis.

This Committee shall provide a forum for consultation and cooperation concerning the collection, study and exchange of information with respect to the marine living resources to which this Convention applies. It shall encourage and promote cooperation in the field of scientific research in order to extend knowledge of the marine living resources of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 81/691/EEC 04.09.1981 OJ L 252 of 05.09.1981

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 601/2004 of 22 March 2004 laying down certain control measures applicable to fishing activities in the area covered by the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 3943/90, (EC) No 66/98 and (EC) No 1721/1999 [Official Journal L 97of 01.04.2004].

To implement the new conservation measures adopted by the Commission for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR), this Regulation brings together in a single act the special provisions on the control of fishing activities deriving from the European Community’s obligations as a Contracting Party to the Convention. These rules concern access to fishing activities, catch and effort data reporting, control and inspection procedures at sea and in port, and the measures applicable to vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the area covered by the Convention.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1721/1999 of 29 July 1999 laying down certain control measures in respect of vessels flying the flag of Non-Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources [Official Journal L 203 of 03.08.1999].

In practice some parties have been found operating fishing vessels under the flag of Non-Contracting Parties to the Convention as a means of avoiding compliance with existing conservation and enforcement measures, thus undermining the effectiveness of the Convention. To discourage such action, a conservation measure was adopted at the XVI Annual Meeting, held from 27 October to 7 November 1997, on a “Scheme to Promote Compliance by Non-Contracting Party Vessels with Convention Measures”, the objective of which is to ensure that the effectiveness of conservation and enforcement measures established by the Convention is not undermined by Non-Contracting Party vessels.
This Scheme provides, inter alia, for the mandatory inspection of Non-Contracting Party vessels when such vessels are voluntarily in the ports of Contracting Parties, a prohibition of landings and transhipments if, in the course of such inspection, it is established that the catch has been taken in contravention of conservation and enforcement measures established by the Convention as well as certain other collateral measures to be taken by the Contracting Parties.
This conservation measure became obligatory for all Contracting Parties with effect from 10 May 1998. The purpose of this Regulation is to bring this system into force for the Community.

This Regulation was repealed and replaced by Council Regulation (EC) No 601/2004.

 

Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

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Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2000/706/EC of 7 November 2000 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention for the Protection of the Rhine.

Summary

By Decision 77/586/EC, the Community concluded the Convention for the Protection of the Rhine and the 1963 Agreement concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution. At the 25th meeting of the Convention, the riparian States considered it necessary to conclude a new Convention for the Protection of the Rhine. The negotiations were completed in January 1998 and the Community signed the new Convention in April 1999 in Berne.

This Decision approves the new Convention for the Protection of the Rhine on behalf of the Community.

The entry into force of the new Convention repeals the April 1963 Agreement concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution, the Additional Agreement of 1976 to the Agreement of April 1963 concerning the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution and the 1976 Convention for the protection of the Rhine against chemical pollution.

The aims of the new Convention are as follows:

  • sustainable development of the Rhine ecosystem through:

– maintaining and improving the quality of the Rhine’s waters, and its natural function;
– protecting species diversity ;
– reducing contamination;
– conserving and improving natural habitats for wild fauna and flora;
– ensuring environmentally sound management of water resources;
– taking ecological requirements into account when developing the waterway.

  • production of drinking water;
  • improvement of sediment quality;
  • flood protection;
  • coordination with measures to protect the North Sea.

The riparian States undertake to:

  • cooperate in taking actions to protect the Rhine;
  • implement programmes and studies concerning the river;
  • identify the causes of and parties responsible for pollution;
  • ensure that technical measures liable to have a serious effect on the ecosystem, as well as discharges of waste water and hazardous substances, are subject to prior authorisation;
  • reduce the risks of environmental accidents.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) is made up of representatives of the Contracting States. It is chaired by those States in turn. It takes decisions unanimously and communicates them to the Contracting Parties. The tasks of the ICPR are as follows:

  • prepare studies and programmes on the Rhine ecosystem;
  • make proposals for actions;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the actions carried out;
  • coordinate warnings and alerts;
  • inform the public as to the state of the Rhine and the results of its work.

Each year, the ICPR draws up an activity report and submits it to the Contracting Parties.

The Contracting Parties report regularly to the ICPR on the legislative, regulatory and other measures they have taken with a view to implementing the Convention and the results of those measures.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2000/706/EC 07.11.2000 OJ L 289, 16.11.2000

Related Acts

Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy [Official Journal L 327, 22.12.2000].
This Directive establishes a Community framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater, in order to prevent and reduce pollution of such waters, promote their sustainable use, protect their environment, improve the state of aquatic ecosystems and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts. This protection is organised on the basis of the river basins and river basin districts identified by the Member States.

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environment: cooperation with third countries

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Environment: cooperation with third countries

Our land, seas, rivers and air are under attack from factors which do not recognise international borders; when it comes to protecting the environment, the issues go well beyond the scope of national or regional considerations. The European Union and its individual Member States actively pursue a pro-environment policy in the context of successive EU enlargements, in bilateral relations with non-EU countries or regional groupings, and when negotiating and signing up to international agreements.

ENLARGEMENT

Ongoing enlargement

  • Turkey – Environment
  • Croatia – Environment
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Environment
  • Iceland – Environment

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Enlargement of May 2004

  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

COOPERATION WITH OTHER NON-EU MEMBER COUNTRIES

General framework

  • Environmental integration in external relations
  • Environment and sustainable management of natural resources, including energy
  • Integrating sustainable development into Community cooperation policy

Bilateral relations

  • EU-Russia environmental cooperation

Regional relations

  • Environment strategy for the Mediterranean
  • Europe-Asia cooperation strategy
  • Pan-European cooperation after enlargement
  • Multilateral Environment for Europe process
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • European Union Strategy for Danube Region
  • Baltic Sea Strategy

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS

Air and climate

  • Kyoto Protocol on climate change
  • Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)
  • Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution
  • Protocol on Heavy Metals

Water

  • Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean
  • Helsinki Convention on the protection of the Baltic Sea
  • OSPAR Convention
  • Maritime safety: Bunkers Convention
  • Helsinki Convention: trans-boundary watercourses and international lakes
  • Convention for the Protection of the Rhine

Nature and biodiversity

  • The Rio de Janeiro Convention on biological diversity
  • Endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES)
  • Bern Convention
  • Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources
  • Conservation of migratory species – Bonn Convention
  • Convention on the Protection of the Alps

Soils

  • United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries seriously affected by drought

Others

  • The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals
  • Basel Convention
  • Transboundary effects of industrial accidents

Iceland – Environment

Iceland – Environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Iceland – Environment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Iceland – Environment

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1202 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The 2011 Report presents a positive evaluation of Iceland’s alignment, which already applies a large part of the European Union (EU) acquis due to its participation in the European Economic Area (EEA). The country has also reinforced its administrative capacity in the field of the environment.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

Community environment policy aims to promote sustainable development and protect the environment for present and future generations. It is based on the integration of environmental protection into other Community policies, preventive action, the polluter pays principle, fighting environmental damage at source and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises over 200 legal acts covering horizontal legislation, water and air pollution, management of waste and chemicals, biotechnology, nature protection, industrial pollution and risk management, and noise.

Ensuring compliance with the acquis requires significant investment, but also brings significant benefits for public health and reduces costly damage to forests, buildings, landscapes and fisheries. A strong and well-equipped administration at national, regional and local level is imperative for the application and enforcement of the environment acquis.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Iceland has made new progress, even though its level of alignment was already high with regard to the environment. For the most part, the institutional structures are in place and operational. Full compliance with the acquis on nature protection still needs to be finalised, particularly with regard to whales, seals and wild birds, and also the conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna. This requirement also applies to the water sector, in particular to alignment with the Framework Directive on the marine strategy.

Additional progress is also required concerning climate change, including with regard to air transport and the Emissions Trading System.

In certain areas, Iceland must gradually align with the EU positions in international environmental fora. The country must also ratify the principal multilateral agreements on the environment.

Turkey – Environment

Turkey – Environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Turkey – Environment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Turkey – Environment

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The 2011 Report highlights the progress made by Turkey with regard to the environment, particularly concerning waste management. However, it notes limited advancements concerning water quality, chemical products and administrative capacities. Furthermore, the country must put in place a more effective policy on climate.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

EU environment policy aims to promote sustainable development and protect the environment for present and future generations. It is based on the integration of environmental protection into other EU policies, preventive action, the polluter pays principle, fighting environmental damage at source and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises over 200 legal acts covering horizontal legislation, water and air pollution, management of waste and chemicals, biotechnology, nature protection, industrial pollution and risk management, and noise.

Ensuring compliance with the acquis requires significant investment, but also brings significant benefits for public health and reduces costly damage to forests, buildings, landscapes and fisheries. A strong and well-equipped administration at national, regional and local level is imperative for the application and enforcement of the environment acquis.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

In the environment
area, Turkey has made good progress on waste management, whereas only limited progress can be reported on horizontal legislation, air quality and industrial pollution control and risk management. Turkey made very limited progress on water quality, chemicals and on administrative capacity. No progress can be reported on nature protection.

Regarding climate change, Turkey made limited progress on awareness-raising on EU climate requirements, but a more robust and ambitious climate policy, both domestically and internationally, has yet to be established. There is a need to enhance administrative capacity.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2010 Report stressed that progress has been made on alignment, although preparations in the field of the environment were still at an initial stage. The progress related in particular to waste management, air and water quality, industrial pollution and chemicals. Efforts were still needed in the fields of climate and nature protection.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 – SEC(2008) 2699 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 Report highlighted the strengthening of administrative capacity and the application of some reforms (air quality, water quality). However, the level of alignment was still low, and some laws adopted in 2008 continued to seriously endanger the environment (particularly in the field of mining operations and tourism).

Commission Report [COM(2007) 663 final – SEC(2007) 1436 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2007 Report described substantial progress in terms of administrative capacity, but little or no progress in different environmental areas. The general level of transposition was low.

Commission Report [COM(2006) 649 final – SEC(2005) 1390 – Not published in the Official Journal].

In its November 2006 Report, the Commission notes that, except for some progress on waste management and noise, the overall level of transposition of the environmental acquis remains low. The lack of progress on horizontal legislation is of increasing concern, in particular on transboundary issues and on public consultation.

Commission Report [COM(2005) 561 final – SEC(2005) 1426 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2005 Report stressed the progress made regarding waste management, noise and nature protection. The overall level of transposition of the environmental acquis was limited.

Commission Report [COM(2004) 656 final – SEC(2004) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The October 2004 Report noted that despite some progress, the overall level of transposition of the environment acquis remained low. Moreover, weaknesses in implementation and enforcement were still sources of major concern. Considerable investments needed to be secured.

Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final – SEC(2003) 1212 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The November 2003 Report stated that the level of alignment and the implementation of legislation were inadequate.

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – SEC(2002) 1412 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The October 2002 Report indicated that Turkey had started to make progress in transposing the acquis and that notable progress had been achieved regarding the improvement of administrative capacities.

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final – SEC(2001) 1756 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2001 Report noted that Turkey had not made any substantial progress on transposing the acquis.

Commission Report [COM(2000) 713 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The November 2000 Report stated that no progress had been recorded in the fields of air quality, waste management water quality, nature protection, industrial pollution risks, chemical products, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the ozone layer and nuclear safety.

Commission Report [COM(1999) 513 – Not published in the Official Journal].
In its 1999 Report the Commission underlined that Turkish legislation was very different from that of the Community.

Commission Report [COM(1998) 711 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Croatia – Environment

Croatia – Environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Croatia – Environment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Croatia – Environment

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1326 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The 2010 Report indicates that the alignment with the acquis is nearly complete. However, in this final phase, additional effort must be made in the areas of water quality, environmental protection, risk management and climate change. The administrative capacity for action must be strengthened, including at local level.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

Union environmental policy is aimed at promoting sustainable development and protecting the environment for current and future generations. It is based on the integration of environmental protection into other Union policies, on preventive action, the ‘polluter pays’ principle, fighting environmental damage at source, and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises some 200 legal acts covering horizontal legislation, water and air pollution, the management of waste and chemical substances, biotechnology, nature conservation, pollution and industrial risk management, noise and radiation protection.

Compliance with the acquis will require major investment, but will also deliver significant advantages in terms of public health and a reduction in the cost of damage to forests, habitats, the countryside and fishing grounds. A strong and well-equipped administration at national, regional and local level is imperative for the application and enforcement of the environment acquis.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Good progress has been made in the environment chapter as regards both alignment and implementation of the legislation. Legislative alignment with regard to water quality, and to a certain extent, climate change must be concluded.

Horizontal implementation of the acquis and cooperation with non-governmental organisations which are active in the environment domain must be improved.

Overall, Croatia’s preparations are nearing completion. Croatia needs to continue strengthening administrative capacity, especially at local level.

Related Acts

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1333 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 – SEC(2008) 2694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The November 2008 report presented the efforts undertaken in certain sectors, such as air quality, chemicals and GMOs. Substantial progress and investment was needed in order to meet the objectives laid down in the areas of climate change, water quality and industrial pollution.

Commission Report [COM(2007) 663 final – SEC(2007) 1431 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The November 2007 report indicated that progress had been made, particularly as regards horizontal legislation, air quality, waste management and chemical products. Large-scale efforts were still needed in order to fully meet Community requirements.

Commission Report [COM(2006) 649 final – SEC(2006) 1385 – Not published in the Official Journal].
In the November 2006 report, it was noted that Croatia had made appreciable progress, especially on air and water, nature protection, chemicals and GMOs. Significant efforts were nonetheless still needed, particularly in the administration and financing of environmental measures.

Commission Report [COM(2005) 561 final – SEC(2005) 1424 – Not published in the Official Journal].
The October 2005 report stressed the significant progress made by Croatia in the areas of air quality and waste management, while also noting that, in terms of the overall situation, there had been little movement in the other sectors.

Commission Opinion [COM(2004) 257 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
In its April 2004 opinion, the European Commission expressed the view that alignment with the Community acquis would require considerable effort on the part of Croatia, even though the basic elements of an appropriate legislative framework already existed. In particular, it stressed the importance of improvements in planning, investment and the preparation of financing strategies as well as the importance of integrating environmental considerations into other policies and implementing legislation.