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Slovakia

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1) REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2004 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 703 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(99) 511 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 711 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC (2001) 1754 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC (2002) 1410 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1209 - 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 Opinion of July 1997 the European Commission expressed the view that if Slovakia was to persevere with its present legislative programme, full transposition of the acquis would be achieved in the medium term. However, effective conformity with a number of pieces of legislation requiring a sustained, high level of investment and considerable administrative effort (e.g. urban waste water treatment, drinking water, aspects of waste management and air pollution legislation) could be achieved only in the long to very long term.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that only modest progress had been made in this sector. Slovakia had to reinforce environmental legislation, both with regard to transposition and implementation. Full transposition and compliance with the acquis might take longer than foreseen in the Opinion of July 1997. There was still no coordinated approach to environmental approximation, and additional investments were also required in this sector.

The October 1999 Report indicated that Slovakia's progress had been rather limited, despite the ambitious legislative programme put together by the Government to accelerate alignment in the environmental field. Major efforts were still required, notably in the adoption of an overall strategy and of a finance plan.

The November 2000 Report pointed out that Slovakia had to speed up the alignment of its legislation and adopt an overall strategy. It also had to implement the principle of incorporating the environment into other policies. The Directives on water, waste, nature conservation and industrial pollution risks needed to be transposed.

The November 2001 Report noted that Slovakia had clarified the transposition timetables and finalised the implementation plans. In contrast, very little progress had been made with approximating the legislation in the directives relating to water, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), industrial pollution and risk management.

The October 2002 Report indicated that important laws had been adopted, particularly in the areas of air, water and nature protection. Administrative capacity to implement and enforce the environmental acquis had been stepped up. Close attention had to be paid to implementing the acquis with regard to waste management, water quality and industrial pollution control.

The November 2003 Report indicates that Slovakia has largely respected the environmental commitments it made in the accession negotiations (concluded in December 2002). Slovakia must implement the majority of the environmental acquis by 1 May 2004, the date of its accession to the Union.
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 Treaty on European Union, aims to achieve sustainability by including environmental protection in EU sectoral policies, preventive measures, the "polluter pays" principle, combating environmental pollution at source, and shared responsibility. The acquis comprises some 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 Slovakian 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 movement of goods.

EVALUATION

Prior to the publication of the Opinion in July 1997, Slovakia had undertaken a comprehensive reform of its environmental legislation. A framework environmental act was adopted in 1992, a national environmental policy strategy in 1993 and an action programme in 1996.

Measures to secure the implementation of the Aarhus Convention have been approved. Also, Parliament approved a sustainable development strategy in April 2002.

In the context of horizontal legislation, transposition has been completed and the resulting legislation is aligned with the acquis, with the exception of strategic environmental impact assessment. Legislation in this field has to be adopted before July 2004. The Act on Access to Environmental Information entered into force in January 2001. Slovakia has ratified the United Nations Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context. The Slovak Parliament approved the Kyoto Protocol in 2002.

With regard to water, the necessary legislation has been adopted and is in line with the acquis, with the exception of the most recent acquis on water. These will have to be adopted before 1 May 2004. Monitoring of drinking water needs to be improved. There is a lack of programmes on nitrates and dangerous substances. Administrative capacity in the water sector needs to be reinforced. Transitional arrangements until December 2005 and December 2006 have been adopted for the treatment of urban waste water and the disposal of certain dangerous substances.

In the chemical products and genetically modified organisms (GMO) sectors, the necessary legislation has been adopted and is in line with the acquis. Particular attention must be paid to the application of this legislation. Co-ordination between the organisations involved needs to be enhanced.

With regard to noise emissions, the legislation adopted is in line with the acquis, with the exception of recent acquis on ambient noise. These provisions will have to be adopted before July 2004.

The legislation on industrial pollution and risk management is in place and is in line with the acquis, with the exception of the acquis on national emission ceilings. The law transposing the Seveso II Directive entered into force in July 2002. Permits need to be issued and complied with as regards all new installations subject to the Directive on integrated pollution and prevention control. Administrative capacity in this sector needs to be reinforced. Transitional arrangements have been adopted for certain operations in the field of integrated pollution prevention and control, combustion plants and the waste incineration. The transitional arrangements are until December 2011, December 2007 and December 2006 respectively.

In the fields of radiation protection and nuclear safety, the acquis has been fully transposed. The legislation is in line with the acquis, with the exception of provisions on the transfer of radioactive waste.

Legislation is in place with regard to waste management, and is in line with the acquis, with the exception of provisions on waste PCBs/PCTs and the most recent acquis on end-of-life vehicles. A deregistration system for end-of-life vehicles and inventories of PCBs/PCTs need to be established before Slovakia's accession to the Union. The establishment of waste collection systems and recovery and disposal facilities needs to continue. An Order has been approved which lays down uniform methods for the analytical inspection of waste. A national Waste Management Programme was approved in 2002, to run until 2005. Administrative capacity in this sector needs to be reinforced, in particular at regional and ministerial level. A transitional arrangement until December 2007 has been adopted for packaging waste.

Transposition has been completed in the air quality sector. The legislation is in line with the acquis. Plans and programmes in this sector need to be finalised. The capacity to implement these plans and programmes needs to be enhanced. Slovakia has ratified the Montreal Protocol. The Air Protection Act, which transposes the Air Framework Directive, was adopted in 2002. It sets air quality targets, the penalties for breaching the obligations in this field, and the responsibilities of the national and local authorities. It also transposes the Waste Incineration Directive and partially transposes the requirements on large combustion plants. As regards volatile organic compound emissions from the storage and distribution of petrol, a transitional arrangement has been agreed until 31 December 2007.

In the field of nature protection, the transposition of the acquis has been completed. Lists of sites of Community interest and special protection areas must be drawn up by accession. Technical and administrative capacity needs to be strengthened.

An agency for implementing environmental investment projects was set up in January 2001, as was a unit for European integration and international relations in the Ministry of the Environment.

Negotiations on the chapter have been closed.

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

 
Last updated: 19.02.2004
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