Tag Archives: International convention

Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention

Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention

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Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Strengthening cooperation with Switzerland, Norway and Iceland: the Lugano Convention (2007)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/712/EC of 15 October 2007 on the signing, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Summary

The “new Lugano Convention” will apply to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. It will not apply to tax, customs and administrative matters or to the status and legal capacity of natural persons, rights in property arising from matrimonial relationships, wills and succession, bankruptcy or composition, social security or arbitration.

With this decision, the Council of the European Union (EU) authorises the President of the Council to designate the persons empowered to sign the convention on behalf of the Community. The text of the convention is attached to the decision.

Achieving a high level of circulation of judgments

The convention, signed on 30 October 2007 by the European Community, along with Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, will come into force as soon as it is ratified by the signatories. It will replace the Lugano Convention of 16 September 1988. The contracting parties must deposit their instruments of ratification with the Swiss Federal Council, which will serve as depositary of the convention. Once it has come into force, the convention will be open to:

  • future members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA);
  • Member States of the European Community acting on behalf of certain non-European territories that are part of their territory or for whose external relations they are responsible;
  • any other state, subject to the unanimous agreement of all the contracting parties.

Based on the rules applicable between EU Member States

The convention follows the present legal framework of the Community, namely the “Brussels I” regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters between Member States. The rules will therefore be similar in the EU and in Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The convention will also facilitate the mutual recognition and enforcement of judgments handed down by the national courts of these countries.

The convention provides that, in general, persons domiciled in a state bound by the convention are sued in that state, whatever their nationality. However, it also provides for special rules of jurisdiction in certain matters, such as with regard to:

  • contracts: jurisdiction resides with the courts of the place of performance of the obligation;
  • maintenance: jurisdiction resides with the courts of the place where the maintenance creditor is domiciled or habitually resident;
  • tort, delict or quasi-delict: jurisdiction resides with the courts of the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur.

The convention also provides for specific jurisdictions in matters relating to insurance, consumer contracts and individual contracts of employment. Jurisdiction in matters relating to tenancies and real property rights resides exclusively with the courts of the contracting state in which the property is situated.

A number of protocols are annexed to the convention, among other things to ensure that it is interpreted as uniformly as possible.

Signing of the convention marks a major institutional development

The European Court of Justice confirms in its Opinion 1/03 that the European Community is exclusively competent to conclude the new Lugano Convention.

Signed on behalf of the Community on 30 October 2007, the convention is a key part of Community law. It runs for an unlimited period.

Council Decision 2009/430/EC of 27 November 2008 approved the conclusion of the convention on behalf of the Community. It also established the declarations to be made at the time of depositing the Community instrument of ratification (annexed to the decision).

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2007/712/EC

15.10.2007

OJ L 339 of 21.12.2007

Access to justice in environmental matters

Access to justice in environmental matters

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Access to justice in environmental matters

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

Environment > General provisions

Access to justice in environmental matters

Proposal

Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 24 October 2003 on access to justice in environmental matters (presented by the Commission).

Summary

This proposal establishes a set of minimum requirements on access to administrative and judicial procedures in environmental matters. It thus transposes the third pillar of the Århus Convention into Community law and the law of the Member States.

Acts and omissions by private persons

The Member States guarantee that members of the public (natural or legal persons and their associations, organisations or groups) may initiate administrative or judicial procedures against acts or omissions of private persons that do not respect environmental law.

Acts and omissions by public authorities

Member States will ensure that members of the public have access to administrative or judicial proceedings against administrative acts or omissions which infringe environmental law if they have a sufficient interest or if they show that their rights have been affected.

Member States guarantee that qualified entities (associations, groups or organisations recognised by a Member State whose objective is protecting the environment) may initiate administrative or judicial proceedings against violations of environmental law, without showing a sufficient interest or impairment of a right if the subject of the procedure is within the scope of their statutory and geographically relevant activities. Qualified entities recognised in a Member State may have recourse to such proceedings in another Member State.

Members of the public and qualified entities who have access to justice against an act or an omission must be able to submit a request for internal review. This request is a preliminary procedure under which the person or entity concerned can contact the public authority designated by the Member State before initiating legal or administrative proceedings. It must be submitted within four weeks of the date of the administrative act or omission. The public authority then has 12 weeks to take a written and reasoned decision and notify it to the party that submitted the request. In the decision, the authority should describe the measures necessary to comply with environmental law or, where appropriate, reject the request. If the authority cannot take a decision, it should inform the party submitting the request as soon as possible. If the authority fails to respond to the request within the period fixed for this purpose or if its decision does not enable compliance with environmental law, the party submitting the request may initiate an administrative or judicial procedure.

Recognition of qualified entities

The Member States should lay down a procedure for recognising qualified entities. They may choose between a preliminary procedure and a case-by-case (ad hoc) procedure. A qualified entity must always meet the following criteria:

  • operate on a non-profit basis and pursue the objective of protecting the environment;
  • have an organisational structure enabling it to achieve its objectives;
  • be legally constituted and have experience in environmental protection;
  • have its annual accounts certified by a registered auditor.

Administrative and judicial procedures

The administrative and judicial procedures provided for in this proposal must be objective, effective, adequate, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive.

Context: the Århus Convention

The Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (Århus Convention) was signed by the European Community and its Member States in June 1998. Apart from the present proposal, two others presented in October 2003 were intended to give final approval to the Convention and apply its provisions to the Community’s institutions and bodies.

The Århus Convention consists of three pillars. The first pillar, concerning the public’s access to information, was implemented by the Community in Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information. The second one, transposed by Directive 2003/35/EC, concerns public participation in environmental procedures. The third pillar relates to public access to justice in environmental matters. The present proposal for a directive is intended to implement this third pillar of the Convention.

The Århus Convention is based on the idea that improving public access to information and justice and greater public participation in decision making in environmental matters lead to better application of environmental law.

References And Procedure

Proposal Official Journal Procedure
COM(2003) 624 final Codecision COD/2003/246

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strengthening of maritime labour standards

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Transport > Waterborne transport

Strengthening of maritime labour standards

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 15 June 2006 under Article 138(2) of the EC Treaty on the strengthening of maritime labour standards [COM(2006) 287 final ? Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The European Commission has actively supported the work of preparing the ILO Convention on Maritime Labour Standards. It considers implementation of that Convention to be essential not only at Community but also at national level.

Article 138(2) of the Treaty stipulates that before submitting social policy proposals the Commission should consult the social partners regarding the possible direction of Community action.

Field of application of the Convention

The Convention draws together a set of provisions aimed at guaranteeing decent living and working conditions on board vessels with a gross tonnage of 500 tonnes or more engaged in international voyages or sailing between foreign ports. The standards it contains address the following points:

  • minimum conditions required for recruitment;
  • employment conditions and workers’ rights;
  • accommodation on board;
  • social protection;
  • a definition of responsibilities regarding application of the Convention.

Benefits of the Convention

The primary objective of the ILO Convention is to consolidate the conventions and recommendations on maritime labour adopted by the ILO since 1919 into a single text of high legal and political standing. Furthermore, it makes use of innovative mechanisms to ensure that the instrument is fully effective.

The second objective of this Convention is to manage globalisation and guarantee fairer conditions of competition. This will help to stabilise the maritime transport sector in the face of global competition and normalise the status of seafarer in the context of globalisation. In fact, certain harmful effects, such as social dumping, penalise seamen and ship owners who comply with the rules in force.

The third objective is to improve maritime safety and the attractiveness of the profession. It is worth remembering that 80 % of maritime accidents are linked to human error. There should therefore be minimum social standards in a coherent framework. A review of training should also be carried out, since qualifications and working conditions are complementary.

Role of the EU

The Commission gave its full support to the preparatory work for the Convention from the outset, convinced of the importance of eliminating unfair competition and improving social standards at world level. It has played a dynamic role, providing added value during negotiations and guaranteeing compatibility between the text of the Convention and Community law. It has also coordinated the positions of the Member States and offered financial support.

The Commission is now endeavouring to encourage and to expedite ratification to ensure that the Convention enters into force as early as possible. The weight of the Union, with its 27 Member States, enables the process to be speeded up since the conditions laid down for the entry into force of the Convention call for 30 States accounting for at least 33 % of world tonnage.

In addition, the Commission is striving to develop and enhance Community standards by seeking to incorporate the most relevant provisions of the Convention into Community law.

For this first phase of consultation, the social partners are thus invited to make known their position on a number of issues connected with implementation of the Convention. Those issues, which will also be the subject of an impact assessment, are as follows:

  • the advisability of developing the existing Community acquis by adapting, consolidating or complementing it in accordance with certain guidelines;
  • the usefulness of going beyond the provisions of the Convention in Community law;
  • the relevance of making the non-compulsory part of the Convention binding;
  • the possible commitment of the social partners to negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement to be implemented by means of Council decision, in accordance with Article 139 of the Treaty.

Furthermore, the Commission is asking the social partners whether it is relevant for the Community’s tripartite structure to be reflected in the monitoring commission provided for by the Convention.

Background

Now that the Convention has been adopted, the European Commission considers it essential to mobilise the necessary resources to implement it at both Community and national level. The Commission is seeking to assert EU values and interests and to promote high standards throughout the world.

Related Acts

Council Decision 2007/431/EC of 7 June 2007 authorising Member States to ratify, in the interests of the European Community, the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, of the International Labour Organization [Official Journal L 161 of 22.6.2007].
The Commission has exclusive competence as regards the coordination of social security schemes, but the Community cannot stand in place of the Member States when a convention is ratified. The Council Decision of 7 June 2007 allows the Member States to ratify the Convention, which comprises aspects connected with coordination of social security schemes.

International convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures

International convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about International convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures

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Justice freedom and security > Police and customs cooperation

International convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/231/EC of 17 March 2003 concerning the accession of the European Community to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures (Kyoto Convention).

Summary

The Community has been a Contracting Party to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures since 1974. The Protocol amends the Preamble, the articles of the Convention, the General Annex and specific annexes. The revisions are known as the “revised Kyoto Convention”. Initially, the European Community will accede only to the revised Protocol, including Appendices I and II. Accession to the revised specific annexes will come at a later date.

Implementation of the revised Kyoto Convention will yield results by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations and, therefore, economic competitiveness. It will also encourage investment and the development of industry and may increase the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in international trade.

Contracting Parties undertake to promote the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures and to conform to the standards, transitional standards and recommended practices in the annexes to this Convention. The parties may grant facilities greater than those laid down in the Convention.

The Convention comprises a body, a General Annex and specific annexes. The annexes include definitions, standards (some of which are transitional), and recommended practices. The annexes are accompanied by Guidelines that are not binding for the Contracting Parties.

A Management Committee has been set up to consider the implementation of this Convention, secure uniformity in its interpretation and application, and any proposed amendments. The Committee is made up of representatives from the Contracting Parties. The competent administration of any entity qualified to become a Contracting Party or any Member of the World Trade Organisation may attend the sessions of the Management Committee as an observer. Representatives from international governmental and non-governmental organisations may be invited to attend the sessions as observers.

The Management Committee:

  • recommends amendments to the body of the Convention;
  • recommends amendments to the annexes and the incorporation of new chapters;
  • decides to amend or incorporate new recommended practices;
  • considers the implementation of the provisions of the Convention;
  • reviews and updates the Guidelines;
  • considers any issues of relevance to the Convention that are referred to it;
  • informs the Permanent Technical Committee and the Council of its decisions.

The relevant administrations of the Contracting Parties communicate to the Secretariat-General of the Council proposals for amendments to the Convention and requests for the inclusion of items on the agenda of the Committee sessions. The Secretariat-General of the Council brings proposals for amendments to the attention of the administrations of members and observers.

The Management Committee meets at least once each year. It elects its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman. If a decision cannot be arrived at by consensus, matters before the Committee are decided by a vote among the Contracting Parties present. Each Contracting Party may vote on matters relating to the interpretation, application or amendment of the body and General Annex of the Convention. Only Contracting Parties that have accepted specific annexes may vote upon them. All Contracting Parties may vote on new specific annexes or new chapters of specific annexes.

Any Member of the Council and any Member of the United Nations or its specialised agencies or any customs or economic union may become a Contracting Party to this Convention. Contracting Parties stipulate the Annex or specific annexes that they accept at the time of their accession to the Convention.

Contracting Parties accept the provisions of the Convention, and are bound by all the standards therein. Contracting Parties may however enter reservations, stating the differences existing between the provisions of their national legislation and those of the practice(s) concerned. When reservations have been granted, the Member in question examines the possibility of withdrawing the reservations every three years, and notifies the Council Secretariat of the national legislation that prevents the withdrawal of the reservation.

Whenever possible, any disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention are settled by negotiation. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the dispute is referred to the Management Committee which considers it and makes recommendations for its settlement.

Accession to the Convention is for an unlimited duration, but any Contracting Party may denounce it at any time after its entry into force. This also applies to the specific annexes or chapters therein. If a Contracting Party decides to withdraw its acceptance of the General Annex, it is deemed to have denounced the Convention.

All signatures and all instruments of ratification or accession are deposited with the Secretary-General of the Council.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/231/EC 17.03.2003 OJ L 86 of 03.04.2003

Related Acts

Council Decision 2004/485/EC of 26 April 2004 amending Decision 2003/231/EC concerning the accession of the European Community to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures (Kyoto Convention) [Official Journal L 162 of 30.04.2004].

Some of the States that acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 had already deposited their instruments of accession to the Protocol of Amendment to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures. To avoid a situation in which some Member States were members of an international convention to which the Community had not yet acceded, the deposit of instruments of accession to the Protocol of the Community of the one part and of the Member States of the other part took place on 30 April 2004.

1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

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Customs

1982 International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 1262/84 of 10 April 1984 concerning the conclusion of the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods [Official Journal L 126 of 12.5.1984].

Summary

The EC is a party to the International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods signed in Geneva on 21 October 1982 in the framework of the United Nations. The Convention is intended to streamline administrative procedures and remove cross-border technical barriers.

It applies to all goods being imported or exported or in transit, when they are moved across one or more maritime, air or inland frontiers.

The Convention is part of the external trade policy, which is an area of exclusive Community competence.

Parties to the Convention are committed to streamlining administrative procedures at borders and reducing the number and duration of controls carried out by customs authorities. This commitment should be reflected in:

  • cooperation and coordination between customs and other services for monitoring goods;
  • the provision of qualified personnel with the necessary equipment at the place where the controls are to take place; official instructions to officers for acting in accordance with international agreements;
  • cooperation with the competent international bodies, in order to facilitate new multilateral or bilateral agreements;
  • arrangements for the joint control of goods and documents by neighbouring countries that share a border; opening hours of frontier posts, categories of goods, modes of transport and international customs transit procedures should correspond;
  • the exchange of information required for controls to be effective;
  • documents aligned on the United Nations Layout Key.

Goods in transit are to receive simple and speedy treatment when they are transported in conditions that provide adequate security. Controls may however be carried out if there is a threat to public safety.

Customs clearance for goods covered an international customs transit procedure is to be facilitated by an extension of the hours and the competence of existing customs posts.

Goods are subject to customs controls as described in Annex 1. These controls are to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations in force at borders. Other types of controls may also be carried out, also at points within the country.

Customs services are in charge of organising cooperation and coordination with other goods control services so as to expedite the passage of goods.

Instructions regarding these controls are to be found in the annexes below. They comprise:

  • medico-sanitary inspections carried out for the protection of the life and health of persons (Annex II);
  • veterinary inspections, applied to animals or animal products and their conditions of transport (Annex III);
  • phytosanitary inspections intended to prevent the spread and the introduction across national boundaries of pests of plants and plant products (Annex IV);
  • control of compliance of goods with national and international laws and regulations (Annex V);
  • quality control of goods to ensure that they correspond to the minimum international or national definitions of quality (Annex VI);
  • rules of procedure of the administrative committee for the Harmonisation Convention concerning the amendment procedure for the Convention (Annex VII).

Prohibitions or restrictions relating to importation, exportation, or transit remain applicable when they are imposed for reasons of public safety*. Emergency measures may also be introduced if necessary.

The Convention does not preclude the right of regional economic integration organisations to apply their own legislation at their internal frontiers. It enables preferences and financial facilities to be maintained, on condition that they do not reduce in any way the facilities deriving from this convention.

Disputes between the parties are to be settled by negotiation or by voluntary recourse to arbitration.

Key terms used in the act

  • Public safety: Defending public safety implies defending the safety and security of the public, morality, health, the environment, cultural heritage and industrial, commercial and intellectual property.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EEC) No 1262/84 1.6.1984 OJ L 126 of 12.5.1984

Related Acts

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex 8 – Facilitating border crossing procedures for international road transport:


Council Decision 2009/161/EC of 25 September 2008 Approving on behalf of the Community Annex 8 to the International Convention on the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods.

The new Annex 8 to the International Convention on the Harmonisation of Frontier Controls of Goods entered into force on 20 May 2008.

The new measures aim at simplifying and coordinating administrative procedures dealing with the following aspects:

  • the granting of visas for professional drivers, by facilitating procedures and the exchange of information between professionals;
  • international transport operations, by speeding up border crossing procedures for goods, particularly for urgent consignments, such as live animals and perishable goods;
  • the technical control of road vehicles, by accepting the International Technical Inspection Certificate and the identification of ATP vehicles carrying perishable goods;
  • the acceptance of the International Vehicle Weight Certificate, aiming at avoiding repetitive weighing procedures at border crossings, apart from random checks or in the case of supposed irregularities. Weight measurement shall take place in the country of origin of international transport operations;
  • efficient border crossing points with suitable infrastructures.

The effective implementation of the Annex by the Contracting Parties will be monitored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe who will produce a report every second year.

COMMUNITY LAW

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on official controls to be performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules [Official Journal L 165 of 30.04.2004].

Corrigendum to the Regulation [Official Journal L 191 of 28.05.2004].

The Regulation is intended to organise the official controls performed on animal feed and food in the framework of Community legislation.

INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE LAW

EEC/UN ATP Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be used for such Carriage (entry into force on 1 September 1970, amended on 7 November 2003).

International Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods (entry into force 12 May 1984).

Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants

Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants

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Environment > Air pollution

Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/507/EC of 14 October 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Summary

The Stockholm Convention seeks to limit pollution by persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It defines the substances in question, and also defines the rules governing the production, importing and exporting of those substances.

Definition

Persistent organic pollutants are chemical substances that possess certain toxic properties and, unlike other pollutants, resist degradation. POPs are particularly harmful for human health and the environment. They accumulate in living organisms, are transported by air, water and migratory species and accumulate in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Pollution caused by POPs is a cross-border problem which makes international action is indispensable.

Scope

The Stockholm Convention covers 12 priority POPs produced intentionally or unintentionally. These substances are formed unintentionally by a wide variety of sources, such as residential combustion systems and waste incinerators.

These 12 priority POPs are aldrin, chlordane, dichlorodiphenyltrichlorethane (DDT), dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furanes.

Initially the Convention aims at prohibiting production and use of nine POPs and minimising production and use of a tenth substance. In the case of the last two POPs, the objective is to minimise their unintentional production and release into the environment. The rules laid down in the Convention do not apply to quantities of a chemical to be used for laboratory-scale research.

Institutional bodies

Three bodies have been set up to implement the Convention at international level:

  • The Conference of the Parties: This is the principal body, consisting of all the Parties to the Convention plus, where appropriate, observers. It lays down the rules on the implementing procedures and is responsible for major decisions, such as addition of a new substance to the Convention and approval of exemptions;
  • The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee: This committee, made up of specialists, examines proposals to add new substances to the Convention;
  • The Secretariat: This body is responsible principally for administrative tasks.

Import/export of POPs

The Convention provides for ending imports and exports of banned POPs. However, chemicals classified as POPs may be imported under certain circumstances:

  • for environmentally sound disposal of existing POPs (destruction of waste, etc.);
  • if an exemption has been granted authorising production and use of the substances in question.

Exports are authorised:

  • for environmentally sound disposal of existing POPs (destruction of waste, etc.);
  • to a party granted an exemption from the Convention to use the substance in question;
  • to States which have not signed the Convention.

In the latter case, the importing State must provide annual certification to the exporting Party. This certificate must specify, inter alia, the intended use of the chemical and including a commitment from the importing State to protect human health and the environment and to take waste management measures, including action to ensure irreversible elimination of the substance classified as a POP.

Unintentional production of POPs

The goal is to minimise and, where feasible, eliminate unintentional production and release of POPs. To this end, the Parties to the Convention are required to develop a national, regional or subregional action plan. This must form part of the overall plan for implementing the Convention. The plan must include an evaluation of releases, an evaluation of the efficacy of the existing laws and policies on management of such releases and strategies for meeting the objectives of the Convention.

The development and use of modified or substitute materials, product and processes must be encouraged in order to avoid unintentional production of POPs. The Convention includes general guidelines on best available techniques and best environmental practices for preventing or minimising releases. It also provides for measures to reduce or eliminate releases containing POPs from stockpiles and wastes.

Exemptions

The Convention allows certain exemptions from the provisions on elimination or minimisation of production or use of these substances and, consequently, from the rules on imports and exports. Such exemptions are specific to each POP and are defined, case by case, in the Annexes to the Convention.

The exemptions are entered in a register open to the public and are valid for five years. They may be extended by the Conference of the Parties, based on a report submitted to the Conference by the Party concerned justifying the continuing need for the exemption. However, when there are no longer any Parties registered for a particular type of exemption, no new registrations will be accepted for that exemption.

Implementation by the Parties

The Parties must develop a plan for fulfilling their obligations under the Convention and transmit it to the Conference. To make it easier to exchange information, each Party must designate a national focal point. Since POPs are a cross-border issue, the Parties are encouraged to cooperate at various levels, including regional or subregional, in order to facilitate the preparation, application and updating of their plans.

It is also important to monitor POP trends in the environment and their effects on public health and to encourage research and development.

Addition of new substances

At the request of any Party, the Review Committee examines all proposals to add new POPs to those already listed under the Convention. Such requests must be accompanied by the specified information stating the reasons for the proposal. This includes proof of persistence, bioaccumulation, potential for spreading and of the adverse effects on human health and the environment. Where it is decided that a proposal meets the selection criteria, the Committee re-examines the proposal, taking account of any relevant additional information received, and draws up a draft description of the risks, and if required, a risk management assessment. On the basis of these assessments, the Committee recommends that the Conference of the Parties should or should not consider including the chemical in annexes A, B and/or C. The final decision is taken by the Conference of the Parties.

Financial resources and technical assistance

Each Party contributes to the financial resources for implementation of the Convention, notably via measures and activities at national or regional level forming part of implementation plans. Developing countries and countries with economies in transition could have financial and technical difficulties with application of the Convention. Developed countries should make their contribution via a mechanism set up by the Convention to attempt to resolve this problem by providing extra financial resources. Another possible form of aid for developing countries and economies in transition is the technological support provided by the developed countries.

Rules on information

Members of the public, politicians and the chemical industry must be kept informed and made aware of the risks posed by POPs and of the rules on the subject. Measures such as appropriate training for the individuals concerned are envisaged. Effective communication between the Parties is also essential, principally via the Secretariat for the Convention.

Settlement of disputes

Disputes between Parties over interpretation or application of the Convention are either settled by arbitration or referred to the International Court of Justice. The plaintiff may choose the procedure. However, if the plaintiff is a regional or economic integration organisation it must follow the arbitration procedure alone.

Failure to comply

The Convention will have a mechanism for identifying non-compliance with the Convention and procedures for dealing with such cases.

Withdrawal

Parties may withdraw from the Convention three years after it enters into force through a written withdrawal. A minimum period of one year from the receipt of the withdrawal notification by the depositary must elapse before such withdrawals can take effect.

Background

The Convention was adopted by 150 Governments, including those of the Member States of the European Union, and also by the Council, acting on behalf of the European Union, at a conference held in Stockholm from 22 to 23 May 2001.

The Convention entered into force on 17 May 2004.

The Stockholm Convention follows a series of measures taken at international level. In June 1998 the European Community signed the Aarhus Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants to the Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE)). The Protocol currently covers 16 POPs, 12 of which come under this Convention.

This measure also fits into the broader context of the numerous international treaties and conventions concluded on the environment in recent years, such as the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

References

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

Decision 2006/507/EC

14.10.2004

OJ L 209, 31.7.2006

Related Acts

Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC [OJ L 158 of 30.4.2004].
This 2004 Regulation seeks to supplement the EU’s already substantial legislation on the substances on the lists and shows a willingness to go beyond international obligations, especially in the field of chemical substances and waste management.
The Regulation specifically concerns the production, placing on the market, use, discharge and elimination of substances which are banned or restricted under the Stockholm Convention on POPs, or the UN-ECE Protocol on POPs. It seeks to establish, at European level, requirements for effective implementation of these two international agreements.

Council Decision 2004/259/EC of 19 February 2004 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the 1988 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants [OJ L 81 of 19.3.2004].
This Decision approves the 1998 Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
This United Nations-Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Protocol was signed by the EU and its Member States in June 1998. It relates to the same 12 POPs as the Stockholm Convention and to four other additional substances (pentabromodiphenyl ether, chlordecone, hexabromobiphenyl and hexachlorocyclohexane). These POPs have significant adverse effects on health or the environment as a result of their persistence, their bioaccumulation and their long-range transboundary atmospheric transport. The Protocol’s ultimate aim is to eliminate discharges, emissions and leaks of POPs. The Protocol categorically prohibits the production and use of certain products (aldrin, chlordane, chlordecone, dieldrin, endrin, hexabromobiphenyl, mirex and toxaphene). It provides for the elimination of other products at a later stage (DDT, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs)).

Basel Convention

Basel Convention

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Basel Convention

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

Basel Convention

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 93/98/EEC of 1 February 1993 on the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal (Basel Convention).

Council Decision 97/640/EC of 22 September 1997 on the approval, on behalf of the Community, of the amendment to the Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal (Basel Convention), as laid down in Decision III/1 of the Conference of the Parties.

Summary

The EEC approves the Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. The Convention came into force for the EEC on 7 February 1994.

The Convention (text attached as annex) aims, in introducing a system for controlling the export, import and disposal of hazardous wastes and their disposal, to reduce the volume of such exchanges so as to protect human health and the environment.

It defines hazardous wastes. Each party may add to the list other wastes listed as hazardous in its national legislation.

A transboundary movement is any movement of hazardous wastes or other wastes from an area under the national jurisdiction of one State to or through an area under the national jurisdiction of another State, or to or through an area not under the national jurisdiction of any State, provided at least two States are involved in the movement.

General obligations:

  • it is prohibited to export or import hazardous wastes or other wastes to or from a non-party State;
  • no wastes may be exported if the State of import has not given its consent in writing to the specific import;
  • information about proposed transboundary movements must be communicated to the States concerned, by means of a notification form, so that they may evaluate the effects of the proposed movements on human health and the environment;
  • transboundary movements of wastes must only be authorised where there is no danger attaching to their movement and disposal;
  • wastes which are to be the subject of a transboundary movement must be packaged, labelled and transported in conformity with international rules, and must be accompanied by a movement document from the point at which a movement commences to the point of disposal;
  • any party may impose additional requirements that are consistent with the provisions of the Convention.

The Convention establishes notification procedures regarding:

  • transboundary movements between parties;
  • transboundary movements from a party through the territory of States which are not parties.

It sets out those cases where there is a duty to re-import hazardous wastes, especially if they have been the subject of illegal trafficking.

Parties to the Convention must cooperate with each other in order to improve and achieve environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes. The aim is to implement all practical measures to ensure that wastes covered by the Convention are handled in such a way that protection of human health and the environment from their harmful effects is guaranteed.

Parties may enter into bilateral, multilateral or regional agreements or arrangements regarding transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, with parties or non-parties, provided that these do not derogate from the principles defined by the Convention.

A Conference of the Parties is established and is charged with overseeing the effective implementation of the Convention.

Provisions on the settlement of disputes between Parties.

Under Decision II/1 the Parties provided for an amendment to the Convention to immediately prohibit transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined for final disposal and prohibit as from 01.01.1998 transboundary movements of hazardous wastes destined for recovery operations from States listed in Annex VII to the Convention, namely, “Members of the European Organisation for Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Community and Liechtenstein”, to States not listed in Annex VII to the Convention. This amendment to the Convention and Annex VII have not yet entered into force for lack of sufficient ratification.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 93/98/EEC 1.2.1993 OJ L 39 of 16.2.1993
Decision 97/640/EC 22.9.1997 OJ L 272 of 4.10.1997

Related Acts


Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste [Official Journal L 190, 12.7.2006].
This Regulation will replace Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 from 12 July 2007. It is designed to strengthen, simplify and spell out the current control procedures for waste shipments, thus reducing the risk of shipments of uncontrolled waste. It also incorporates into Community legislation the amendments to the waste lists annexed to the Basel Convention and the revision adopted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2001.