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Iceland – Environment

Candidate countries conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) in order to prepare themselves for accession. The accession negotiations cover the adoption and implementation of European legislation (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.

ACT

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.

Last updated: 13.10.2011

See also

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