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The Czech Republic

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2009 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 503 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1746 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1402 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1200 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]

2) SUMMARY

In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission considered it should be possible to achieve transposition of the whole environmental acquis and effective compliance with important aspects of it (air quality legislation, environmental impact assessments, industrial risks and chemicals legislation) in the medium term. However, since a number of pieces of legislation require a sustained level of investment and considerable administrative effort (e.g. urban waste water treatment, drinking water, waste management and air pollution legislation), the Commission also took the view that effective harmonisation could be achieved only in the long term.

The November 1998 Report noted that little progress had been made in meeting the short-term priorities of the Accession Partnership. Considerable efforts remained necessary to align Czech legislation with the acquis, particularly with respect to industrial pollution and the water sector.

The October 1999 Report confirmed the previous Report's assessment, noting that progress with transposition of the acquis had been very limited. It called for efforts to be stepped up in the water and waste sectors, and for particular attention to be paid to reinforcing administrative capacity and to finalising a financing plan for each Directive.

The November 2000 Report noted that some progress had been achieved in aligning with the environmental acquis and that an estimated one quarter of the Community's environmental provisions had been incorporated in national legislation. However, the framework legislation in several areas such as air, water and waste had still to be transposed, and there were also gaps in the laws relating to certain industries and nature protection.

The November 2001 Report emphasised that the Czech Republic had made good progress in alignment with the acquis and in strengthening its administrative capacity. Nevertheless, additional efforts were required in the fields of air quality, combating industrial pollution and nature conservation.

The October 2002 Report noted good progress with transposing and implementing the environmental acquis. Progress was also achieved in terms of stepping up administrative capacity. Nonetheless, an effort had to be made to finalise the transposition and implementation of the acquis and to step up administrative capacity, particularly at regional and local level.

The November 2003 Report indicates that the Czech Republic is essentially meeting the environmental commitments arising from the accession negotiations (concluded in December 2002), and is expected to be in a position to implement the majority of the environmental acquis by accession on 1 May 2004.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The Union's environmental policy, as set out in the EC Treaty, aims to achieve sustainability by including environmental protection in EU sectoral policies, and through preventive measures, the "polluter pays" principle, combating environmental pollution at source, and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises approximately 200 legal instruments covering a wide range of fields, including water and air pollution, the management of waste and chemicals, biotechnology, radiation protection and nature conservation. Member States must ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out before approving certain public and private-sector development projects.

The European Association Agreement stipulates that Czech development policies must be guided by the principle of sustainable development and take full account of environmental considerations.

The White Paper on the preparation of the associated countries of central and eastern Europe for integration into the internal market of the Union (1995) covers only a small part of the environmental acquis, namely product-related legislation, which is directly related to the free circulation of goods.

EVALUATION

The Czech Republic has invested 1 billion in this area since 1994, or 2.4 % of GDP.

Horizontal legislation is in place and is in line with the acquis, except for the recent acquis on the strategic environmental impact assessment. These provisions need to be transposed by July 2004. The competent authority for strategic environmental impact assessment still needs to be designated. The Czech Republic has signed the Aarhus Convention on public access to environmental information. It ratified the Kyoto Protocol in November 2001.

Water protection: legislation is in place and is in line with the acquis, except for bathing water and the recent framework acquis on water, which need to be completed by accession. Co-ordination between the various organisations in the water sector needs to be improved. Water quality monitoring should be enhanced. The inventory of and authorisations for discharges of dangerous substances, and programmes for nitrates and dangerous substances need to be finalised by accession. A transitional arrangement until December 2010 has been agreed as regards urban waste water.

Waste management: the necessary legislation is in place and in line with the acquis, except for packaging waste, the financial security of landfills, and the recent acquis on end-of-life vehicles. These areas need to be transposed by 1 May 2004. Regional waste management plans have yet to be adopted. The establishment of collection systems and recovery and disposal facilities needs to continue. The Waste Management Centre needs further strengthening, and co-operation with the Ministry needs to be improved. A transitional arrangement until December 2005 has been agreed for the implementation of rules on packaging waste

As regards industrial pollution and industrial risk management, legislation is in place and is in line with the acquis. The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act has been adopted, but more attention needs to be paid to ensuring effective implementation. The same applies to implementation of the provisions on major accident hazards. Permits under the rules on integrated pollution prevention and control need to be issued to all new installations by 1 May 2004, and to existing installations until October 2007. Transitional arrangements have been agreed for certain combustion plants until December 2007.

In the field of air quality, legislation is in place and in line with the acquis, except for the recent acquis on ozone. Minor amendments are also needed to fully align the legislation on volatile organic compounds from the storage and distribution of petrol. Air quality plans and programmes need to be adopted and monitoring further enhanced by the date of accession. The legislation concerning chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has been transposed and is in line with the acquis, except for the recent acquis on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs, which needs to be transposed by 1 May 2004. Transposition of the acquis on noise is proceeding according to schedule. The legislation is in line with the acquis, except for the recent acquis on ambient noise, which needs to be completed by July 2004. Legislation relating to the protection of health from noise emissions entered into force in June 2000. A Regulation concerning noise emissions from products entered into force in April 2002. An inspection system has also been put in place.

Regarding radiation protection, legislative alignment has been completed and the legislation is in line with the acquis.

In March 1999 the Czech Republic ratified the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.

Other nuclear safety issues are dealt with in the " Energy " section.

As regards nature protection, the adoption of framework legislation has been delayed. Only the acquis on zoos has been transposed in full. Lists of proposed sites of Community interest and special protection areas must be drawn up by accession. Protection measures must also be applied. The administrative capacity does not have sufficient staff or technical equipment.

The Czech Republic participates in the European Environment Agency and the European Environment Information and Observation Network.

Negotiations on this chapter have been closed.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 17.02.2004
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