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Brussels, 28 January 2000

Control of Major Accidents: Commission acts against Belgium, Germany and the UK

The European Commission is sending a "Reasoned Opinion" to Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom for not transposing EU rules to prevent major accidents into national law. National legislation should have been adopted and sent to the Commission by the beginning of February 1999. The three countries have not yet completed the transposition process. A reasoned opinion is the final step in an infringement procedure before action in the European Court of Justice.

The Seveso II Directive (Council Directive 96/82/EEC of 9 December 1996 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances) upgrades existing legislation on this subject, and aims to prevent major accidents which involve dangerous substances, and to limit their consequences for people and the environment. The directive requires all establishments where large quantities of dangerous substances are present, which could create a major accident, to comply with requirements on safety and hazard prevention (e.g. adoption of major accident prevention policy, safety report and emergency plans, etc.).

Infringement procedures are therefore at present open against eleven Member States since Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria and Portugal have not yet completed the transposition process either.

The Commission's decision reflects its ongoing commitment to ensuring full implementation of EU environmental policy.

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