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Brussels, 22 November 200013661/00 (Presse444 G)


At today's meeting of the Conciliation Committee (1) the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement today on the Regulation allowing voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS). The agreement on a draft joint text has still to be confirmed by the European Parliament, acting by a majority of the votes cast, and by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, following which the Regulation will be deemed to have been adopted.

As the European Parliament voted 27 amendments to the common position at second reading, the conciliation meeting on 6 July 2000 focused in particular on compliance with environmental legislation by the organisations participating in EMAS, facilitating access for small and medium-sized enterprises to the scheme and information for the public.

The purpose of the new Regulation is to broaden the scope of the initial EMAS, as set up by Council Regulation (EEC) No 1863/93 of 29 June 1993, and thus to improve EMAS' contribution to environmental protection. It extends participation by the organisations concerned in the industrial sector to include all economic sectors, providing them with a means for continually improving their environmental practices. The Regulation thus aims to increase the potential of EMAS to contribute to sustainable development and to rationalise the relationship between EMAS and the international standards which now exist in the field of environmental management.

It is also aimed at increasing employee involvement and the visibility of EMAS for enterprises as well as the consistency of its implementation across the Member States. Based as it is on the experience gained with Regulation No 1863/93, the new Regulation maintains the voluntary nature of EMAS. It also introduces a new logo to reflect more clearly the determination of organisations to improve their environmental performance.

(1)The Conciliation Committee is composed of 30 members: 15 Members of the European Parliament and 15 representatives of the Council. The meeting on 22 November 2000, at which this item was taken without debate, was co-chaired by Mr Renzo IMBENI, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and Mr Jean-Claude GAYSSOT, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing of the French Republic and President-in-Office of the Council.

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