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C/02/180

2439th Council meeting

- ENVIRONMENT -

Luxembourg, 25 June 2002

President :

Mr Jaume MATAS i PALOU

Minister for the Environment of the Kingdom of Spain

CONTENTS (1)

PARTICIPANTS 

ITEMS DEBATED

VI-Transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms PAGEREF _Toc13296716 \h VISOIL PROTECTION Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc13296717 \h VIBIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Council conclusions PAGEREF _Toc13296718 \h VIIIPACKAGING AND PACKAGING WASTE PAGEREF _Toc13296719 \h XIMAJOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES REVISION OF "SEVESO II" DIRECTIVE PAGEREF _Toc13296720 \h XIENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY PAGEREF _Toc13296721 \h XISUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY REINFORCEMENT OF THE COUNCIL'S STRUCTURES PAGEREF _Toc13296722 \h XIISUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PREPARATION OF THE JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT PAGEREF _Toc13296723 \h XIICLIMATE CHANGE - KYOTO PROTOCOL PAGEREF _Toc13296724 \h XIIICLIMATE CHANGE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION ALLOWANCE TRADING PAGEREF _Toc13296725 \h XIIITRACEABILITY AND LABELLING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS PAGEREF _Toc13296726 \h XIVDANGEROUS CHEMICALS-Ratification of the Rotterdam Convention PAGEREF _Toc13296727 \h XIV-Trade in hazardous chemicals PAGEREF _Toc13296728 \h XIVOTHER BUSINESS-Clean technologies for diesel-engined cars PAGEREF _Toc13296729 \h XV-Chemicals policy PAGEREF _Toc13296730 \h XV-National sustainable development strategies PAGEREF _Toc13296731 \h XV-Production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the European Union PAGEREF _Toc13296732 \h XV-Coexistence of genetically modified, traditional and organic crops PAGEREF _Toc13296733 \h XV-Integrated product policy PAGEREF _Toc13296734 \h XV-Climate change Legislation on fluorinated gases PAGEREF _Toc13296735 \h XVIITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATEEXTERNAL RELATIONS--EU Liechtenstein relations Conclusions PAGEREF _Toc13296736 \h XVI--Afghanistan Appointment of the new Special Representative of the European Union PAGEREF _Toc13296737 \h XVI--FYROM Extension of the mandate of the Special Representative of the European Union PAGEREF _Toc13296738 \h XVI--Angola PAGEREF _Toc13296739 \h XVIIRELATIONS WITH ACP STATES--ACP-EC Council of Ministers (Punta Cana, 28 June 2002) PAGEREF _Toc13296740 \h XVII--Internal Financial Agreement Extension of provisional application PAGEREF _Toc13296741 \h XVIIASSOCIATION WITH CCEE--Bulgaria Processed agricultural products PAGEREF _Toc13296742 \h XVII--Latvia/Lithuania Protocol on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (PECA) PAGEREF _Toc13296743 \h XVIIITRADE QUESTIONS--Antidumping Urea PAGEREF _Toc13296744 \h XVIIIECOFIN--Financial Regulation * PAGEREF _Toc13296745 \h XVIIICULTURE--Cooperation in the field of culture PAGEREF _Toc13296746 \h XVIII--"Preserving tomorrow's memory preserving digital content for future generations" PAGEREF _Toc13296747 \h XVIIIRESEARCH--Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of India PAGEREF _Toc13296748 \h XIXTRANSPORT--Speed limitation devices for certain categories of motor vehicles * PAGEREF _Toc13296749 \h XIX--Community vessel traffic monitoring system PAGEREF _Toc13296750 \h XIX--European Maritime Safety Agency PAGEREF _Toc13296751 \h XIXTELECOMMUNICATIONS--Recommendation on the protection of personal data PAGEREF _Toc13296752 \h XX--Processing of personal data and the protection of privacy * PAGEREF _Toc13296753 \h XXINTERNAL MARKET--Suspension of tariff duties on aircraft PAGEREF _Toc13296754 \h XX--Suspension of customs duties on airworthiness certificates PAGEREF _Toc13296755 \h XXINSTITUTIONAL ISSUES--European Communities Recruitment Office PAGEREF _Toc13296756 \h XX--European Parliament elections * PAGEREF _Toc13296757 \h XXIAPPOINTMENTS--Committee of the Regions PAGEREF _Toc13296758 \h XXIFor further information call 02 285 60 83 or 02 285 68 08

PARTICIPANTS

The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission were represented as follows:

Belgium :

Ms Magda AELVOETMinister for Consumer Protection, Public Health and the Environment
Mme Vera DUAFlemish Minister for the Environment and Agriculture
Denmark :
Mr Hans Christian SCHMIDTMinister for the Environment
Mr Leo LARSENDeputy State Secretary for the Environment
Germany :
Mr Jürgen TRITTINFederal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety
Greece :
Ms Rodoula ZISSIState Secretary for the Environment, Regional Planning and Public Works
Spain :
Mr Jaume MATAS i PALOUMinister for the Environment
Mr Pascual FERNÁNDEZ MARTÍNEZ State Secretary for Water and the Coastline
France :
Ms Roselyne BACHELOT-NARQUINMinister for Ecology and Sustainable Development
Ireland :
Mr James BRENNANDeputy Permanent Representative
Italy :
Mr Altero MATTEOLIMinister for the Environment and Protection of Natural Resources
Luxembourg :
Mr Charles GOERENSMinister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Action and Defence, Minister for the Environment
Mr Eugène BERGERState Secretary for the Environment
Netherlands :
Mr Ian DE JONGHDeputy Permanent Representative
Austria :
Mr Wilhelm MOLTERERFederal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management
Portugal :
Mr Isaltino MORAISMinister for Towns, Regional Planning and the Environment
Mr José Eduardo MARTINSState Secretary for the Environment
Finland :
Mr Jouni BACKMANMinister for the Environment
Sweden :
Mr Lars-Olaf LINDGRENDeputy Permanent Representative
United Kingdom :
Ms Margaret BECKETTSecretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mr Michael MEACHERMinister of State for the Environment
* * *
Commission :
Ms Margot WALLSTRÖMMember

BIOSAFETY

  • Ratification of the Cartagena Protocol

The Council adopted the Decision approving the Cartagena on Biosafety Protocol on behalf of the Community by a qualified majority; the French delegation abstained and maintained a formal reservation. The Member States, which must also ratify the Protocol at national level, undertook to take all necessary measures to finalise their ratification procedures as soon as possible.

This Decision will enable the European Union which would like to ensure that as much progress as possible is made with regard to all the major Conventions resulting from the 1992 Rio Conference to inform the World Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September 2002 that its ratification procedure has been completed.

Finalised in Montreal in January 2000 and linked to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), the Protocol is an environmental agreement covering, among others issues, the identification and labelling of living modified organisms (LMOs) and the transboundary movements of such organisms.

  • Transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms

The Council took note of the progress of discussions on the proposal for a Regulation on the transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The adoption of this proposal will allow the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol at Community level as soon as it is ratified by the Community.

While existing Community legislation to a large extent covers imports and trade in GMOs, the proposal is intended to fulfil the requirements imposed by the Protocol on exporters by establishing a common system of notification and information for transboundary movements of GMOs.

SOIL PROTECTION Council conclusions

"THE COUNCIL:

    RECOGNISES the vital role the soil plays as one of the three natural elements essential for life, as the physical support for a great number of human activities and its important functions including its huge richness of biodiversity and genetic variability, its capacity to store, buffer and filter water and other substances as well as its key role for biomass, food and raw materials production; NOTES that soil may not only be affected by climate change but it is also a storehouse for organic matter and that it has an important role in combating climate change; furthermore it has also important cultural and aesthetic values to be properly preserved;

    STRESSES that soil is essentially a non-renewable natural resource subject to potentially rapid degradation processes such as erosion, decline of soil organic matter, contamination, decline in soil biodiversity, salinisation, soil sealing and compaction, as well as floods and landslides. These threats can have various consequences, including desertification, acidification and contamination of deeper soil layers, which can seriously threaten the ability of the soil to provide the necessary functions for life; RECOGNISES that the type and extent of land degradation processes differ within the Community; CONSIDERS that human activities in certain areas are essential to maintain the good status of soils, but that they may also start and seriously accelerate degradation processes;

    CONSIDERS that, to safeguard its capacity to simultaneously perform its vital functions, the sustainable use of soils or soil protecting measures as appropriate need to be assured thus placing soil alongside water and air as a natural resource to be protected;

    WELCOMES the Communication of the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament "Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection". CONSIDERS that it provides a comprehensive overview of the elements and factors related to soil threats, as well as of Community existing policies relevant for soil protection, and establishes the basis for the identification of the future Community actions for its protection. In this respect, attention should be paid to the complexity and to the diversity of soil protection as well as to measures already taken by and within Member States;

    UNDERLINES that, in order to deal with the huge variability of soils, soil protection policy requires full consideration of regional and local particularities and that, due to its non renewable nature, it is of particular importance to apply the precautionary principle, that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should, as a priority, be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay; CONSIDERS also that environmental liability mechanisms contribute to prevent and tackle soil degradation processes and for the remediation of local pollution;

    STRESSES that increasing threats to soil may often lead to increasing threats to water. Erosion and Soil contamination can affect not only water quality, but the loss of organic matter and compaction can also diminish the soils capacity to retain water, and sealing can disturb the water balance of nearby soils, with additional consequences including increased flood risk and altering groundwater regime;

    RECOGNISES that, although the information on identified threats is not complete, there is sufficient scientific evidence to conclude that soil degradation processes continue to take place in many areas of the European Union and the Candidate Countries;

    UNDERLINES the need for appropriate Community action to protect soil and provide for its sustainable use, as already established in the Sixth Community Environmental Action Programme; It should take already existing Community policies and measures and subsidiarity appropriately into account; CONSIDERS that the proper functioning of the single market may require also a common approach to soil policy, insofar as its protection and remediation at all relevant levels may also affect competitiveness;

    REQUESTS the Commission to bring forward as soon as possible, before July 2004, the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, based on an integrated approach involving a global and long-term perspective so that the vital functions of soil can be preserved, which should include where appropriate relevant qualitative and quantitative targets and timetables against which the measures provided for can be measured and evaluated, as well as general principles for threat evaluation and management, and to identify actions for its implementation, including appropriate sustainable use and soil protection measures. Such a Community framework should be based on available scientific knowledge, best technologies and on a broad consultation with all the concerned stakeholders. It should also consider the possible long distance degradation effects of some human actions including inappropriate soil management, in particular through water and air pollution;

    RECALLS that several major Community policies, including Agriculture, Transport, Research and Regional policies affect soil and that they may significantly contribute to its protection; in this respect STRESSES the need to improve the integration of soil protection objectives in relevant policies including an appropriate consideration in the future development of the Common Agriculture Policy; SUPPORTS the Commission's intention to promptly start the work outlined in the Communication in relation to environmental legislation and integration in other policies and to report back to the Council during 2004 on the progress made and on future plans for action;

    STRESSES the key role of environmental policy in addressing most threats to soil;

    STRESSES that ongoing environmental legislation initiatives on compost, mining waste and sewage sludge, as well as air quality, will make an important contribution to soil protection and REQUESTS the Commission to present the appropriate proposals as soon as possible; BELIEVES that, in addition, the appropriate development and implementation of legislation in relation inter alia to water, air, and biodiversity as well as other relevant environment policy initiatives, such as on chemicals and pesticides, will bring significant benefits for soil;

    RECOGNISES that, in the absence of comparable policy relevant data, and in line with the knowledge based approach, there is a need to set up a Community framework, including legislation, to develop a soil monitoring system based in so far as possible on already existing systems and capable, where appropriate, of being integrated into more comprehensive multi-layered monitoring and reporting systems. UNDERLINES the long-term need for policy relevant, accurate, compatible and comparable data and indicators, permitting, including through its common interpretation, the detection of changes and trends in the threats to soil and on which future policies can be built and SUPPORTS the Commission intention to bring forward proposals during 2004 based on full stakeholder involvement;

    CONSIDERS that future actions should be focused on sustainable use of soils or soil protecting measures as appropriate and on the benefits that may bring to water, air, biodiversity, land, human health and to combat climate change;

    SUPPORTS the Commission view that erosion, decline of organic matter and soil contamination are considered priority soil threats especially where these processes may become irreversible and WELCOMES the intention of the Commission to present a communication on these matters in 2004; SUPPORTS the Commission's intention to hold a major conference for this purpose;

    CONSIDERS that tackling the issue of soil sealing is also a priority and UNDERLINES the need to take up soil protection and the sustainable use of soil in land management; LOOKS FORWARD to this being addressed, together with other soil protection related issues, in the future Commission Communication on the subject to be presented in 2003. RECALLS that the importance of certain soils is such that they need to be protected for their intrinsic value;

    EMPHASISES the link between soil contamination and risks to human and animal health and to ecosystems and INVITES the Commission to come forward with recommendations for further actions as appropriate in this respect during 2004, including, inter alia, consideration of risks to soil functions and their potential impact on human health;

    RECOGNISES the importance of the wider international dimension of soil protection, as expressed in a number of Community commitments to relevant international conventions and conferences; RECOGNISES that Member States and Candidate Countries have developed various actions and policies on soil protection, some of which are part of the National Action Programmes in the context of the Convention to Combat Desertification, and STRESSES the value of soil protection and of its sustainable use and management for poverty alleviation worldwide."

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Council conclusions

FOSTERING BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION Council conclusions:

"RECALLING the objective established in Gothenburg by the European Council to halt biodiversity loss by 2010; and RECALLING the priority actions identified in the 6th Environmental Action Programme;

REAFFIRMING that real integration of environmental and, in particular, biodiversity considerations into the Community sectoral policies and the promotion of sustainable development play a crucial role in the conservation and sustainable use of European biological diversity; and

CONSIDERING that actions taken until now have not produced sufficient results to reverse the trend in biodiversity loss.

THE COUNCIL:

    The internal dimension: NATURA 2000 10 years on

    NOTING that the setting up of a common European network of nature protection areas as foreseen by the Habitats Directive under the name of "NATURA 2000" is one of the most ambitious and important environmental projects ever undertaken by the European Union and is a major contribution by the EU to the Pan-European Ecological Network;

    NOTING that the protection of our common natural heritage and biodiversity is a common European responsibility and that the Natura 2000 network will play an essential role for the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in the European Union and in particular for reaching the said objective;

    UNDERLINING that after intense work done at all levels within the European Union the network "Natura 2000" is now moving from vision to reality, in particular with the adoption of the first finalised list of Sites of Community Importance for the Macaronesian biogeographic region;

    NOTING that special attention is required to develop a better understanding of the Community's marine environment;

    NOTING the many difficulties which have been encountered in the implementation of the different stages of the Habitats Directive, ENCOURAGES all Member States and the Commission to work positively towards the resolution of the outstanding difficulties:

      HIGHLIGHTS the urgent need to finish the selection of Sites of Community Importance and the adoption of the remaining bio-geographic lists; and also EMPHASISES the need to complete the designation of Special Protection Areas for birds, as an essential pillar of the network;

      STRESSES the importance of stimulating the participation of all stakeholders, at all relevant stages, in the future development of Natura 2000, paying special attention to the rural community, including owners and users of the sites;

      CONSIDERING that the purposes and aims of the Natura 2000 network have not yet been sufficiently understood by all the relevant actors, UNDERLINES the need to strengthen the efforts to raise public awareness of and public debate on the purposes and aims of the Natura 2000 network and therefore CALLS UPON the Commission to urgently develop appropriate measures to this end;

      EMPHASISES the need for studies which address the economic valuation and benefits of bio-diversity and, in particular, of the Natura 2000 network to encourage both private sector involvement in bio-diversity conservation and a positive debate on the role of Natura 2000 as an instrument for sustainable development;

      5. STRESSES the importance of applying the results of scientific research to keep under review and, when necessary, adapt the Annexes to the Habitats and Birds Directives and in the implementation of these Directives and, in particular, in the preparation of management measures for the Natura 2000 network;

      RECOGNISES the need to implement, as soon as possible, the provisions of the Directive concerning the management of the network and the need to address the issue of financing, including an appropriate framework for community co-financing;

      WELCOMES the initiative of the Commission in establishing a group to address the issue of the costs, economic incentives and financing of the Natura 2000 network and the intention of the Commission to present a Communication to the Council and to the Parliament on this issue in 2003;

      RECALLING the need to implement the necessary financial instruments and measures required for the full implementation of the Natura 2000 network, INVITES the Commission in the proposed Communication to present options for an adequate and effective Community financing framework as an input into the future Community financial perspectives;

      RECOGNISES the important contribution of Life-Nature to the establishment of the Natura 2000 network and to the preservation of biodiversity in the European Union in general, while EMPHASISING the need to analyse the results of the current programme carefully, in order to ensure the effective application of this instrument in the future, taking account of the requirements of implementation of these Directives in the Accession Countries;

      ENCOURAGES the development of further guidance and common criteria for the application of compensatory measures which should be included as part of a plan or project which significantly adversely affects a Natura 2000 site;

      STRESSES the need to ensure the establishment of effective instruments at the appropriate administrative level to provide for protection of the sites and allow for the adoption and full implementation of appropriate management measures;

      STRESSES the importance of establishing an appropriate monitoring process, based on or integrated in existing or planned mechanisms when suitable, to ensure that the management of sites is achieving the conservation objectives set by the Directive, the purpose of which is to ensure the favourable conservation status of species and habitats;

    The international context: Outcome of the 6th Conference of the Parties (CoP 6) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (The Hague, 7-19 April 2002)

      WELCOMES the outcome of the 6th Conference of the Parties to the CBD and STRESSES the importance of the Ministerial Declaration agreed there, now annexed to these conclusions and of the transmission to the World Summit on Sustainable Development of this clear communication, which emphasises that the Convention on Biological Diversity is the principal international legal instrument for the coordination, consolidation and strengthening of efforts undertaken through the various regional, sub-regional and international biodiversity-related agreements and programmes;

      WELCOMES, in particular, the commitment made in that Ministerial Declaration to have instruments in place to stop and reverse the current alarming rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, sub-regional and national levels by the year 2010;

      15. STRESSES the importance of moving forward the agreements reached in The Hague, in particular a commitment to the effective implementation of:

      • the Expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity;

    • the Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilisation;

      • the Guiding Principles for the Implementation of Article 8(h), Invasive Alien Species; and

        • the Strategic Plan for the Convention;

        16. STRESSES its support for the content of the Guiding Principles on Invasive Alien Species, including the provisions on the application of the precautionary principle, and RECALLS the concern, as voiced by the European Union during the plenary session of the Conference of the Parties, about the decision making procedures under this Convention, followed for the adoption of these Guiding Principles;

      17. URGES the Commission and Member States to incorporate the relevant aspects of the Expanded Programme of Work on Forest Biological Diversity, the Bonn Guidelines and the Guiding Principles on Invasive Alien Species, as well as other relevant decisions of CoP 6, when implementing their respective policies, programmes, strategies and action plans."

PACKAGING AND PACKAGING WASTE

Pending receipt of the European Parliament's Opinion, the Council established a general approach on the broad thrust of the amendment to Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste, although without the support of the Belgian or Netherlands delegations. The Permanent Representatives Committee was instructed to examine the European Parliament's Opinion as soon as it was available so that the Council could adopt a common position.

The text approved by the Council is based on a Presidency compromise and provides inter alia for:

  • 31 December 2008 as the general deadline for taking the measures needed to achieve the recycling targets, with an additional period of four years for Greece, Ireland and Portugal on account of their specific situation;

  • a maximum target of 80% for the recycling of packaging waste and no maximum target for recovery;

  • minimum targets for the recycling of materials contained in packaging waste: 60% for paper and board; 60% for glass; 50% for metals; 22,5% for plastics, counting exclusively material that is recycled back into plastics; 15% for wood.

The amendment of the 1994 Directive follows from a provision whereby new targets are to be set for 2001-2006 and, subsequently, every five years.

MAJOR ACCIDENTS INVOLVING DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES REVISION OF "SEVESO II" DIRECTIVE

Pending receipt of the European Parliament's Opinion, the Council established a general approach on the amendment of Council Directive 96/82/EC (the "Seveso II" Directive) on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances. The Permanent Representatives Committee was instructed to examine the European Parliament's Opinion as soon as it was available so that the Council could adopt a common position.

The text approved by the Council, which is based on a Presidency compromise, follows a request from the French delegation for the proposal to be expanded to include provisions concerning ammonium nitrate, which was involved in the accident in Toulouse on 21 September 2001, when an explosion of products containing ammonium nitrate at the AZF chemical plant left thirty people dead and 2 400 injured. Under Article 176 of the Treaty, the Member States' own legislation may set more stringent thresholds than those specified in the Directive.

The draft also seeks to extend the scope of Council Directive 96/82/EC in the wake of accidents at a firework manufacturer's premises in Enschede (Netherlands) and a mine in Baie Mare (Romania) and in the light of studies on carcinogens and environmentally dangerous substances carried out by the Commission at the request of the Council. It provides for an obligation on industrial operators to put into effect Safety Management Systems, including a detailed risk assessment using possible accident scenarios.

ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY

The Council debated two key issues central to the proposal for a Directive on environmental liability and the prevention and remedying of environmental damage. The debate provided political guidance for future work on compromises proposed by the Presidency with regard to:

  • the voluntary or mandatory nature of financial guarantees for environmental risk.

     The Presidency compromise proposes that a minimum level (yet to be determined) of financial guarantees be made compulsory within five years from entry into force for all operators undertaking activities which are considered the most potentially dangerous, with some flexibility allowing Member States to exempt certain small low-risk operators. The debate on this question showed that a majority of delegations agree that some form of financial security should be made mandatory so as to ensure, in practice, that funds are available to undertake the prevention or remedying action required to achieve the objective of better environmental protection. Some concern was also expressed with regard to the availability and affordability of such financial security;

  • the question of whether the competent authorities of the Member States should bear the subsidiary responsibility for the prevention or remedying of damage when the polluter cannot be identified or is exempt from liability.

    The Presidency's compromise proposal provides for a "safety net" to cover any possible loopholes or exemptions of responsibility created by the liability regime established to ensure the prevention and remedying of damage. Whilst placing liability firmly on the operator causing the pollution in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle it would also require the competent authority to act when the operator cannot be identified or is for some reason exempt under the Directive. Some flexibility, which may have to be further refined, is provided to allow the authorities to choose not to act in certain instances when the costs are disproportionate to the potential environmental benefit and the damage is not serious.

    The debate showed that for some delegations such an obligation would be too broad, and that final views on this issue and the nature of the financial guarantee system cannot be fully expressed until the other outstanding issues of the proposal have been given further consideration and a complete package is proposed. Nevertheless, a majority of delegations considered that the proposed compromise constitutes an acceptable basis for further work, and that in order to achieve the maximum environmental benefit, some form of subsidiary liability would have to remain with the Member Sates.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY REINFORCEMENT OF THE COUNCIL'S STRUCTURES

The Presidency briefed the Council on the measures taken to improve internal procedures within the Council in relation to environment-related aspects of the sustainable development strategy (SDS).

In particular, the Presidency proposed creating a new SDS sub-area within the Council's Working Party on the Environment and extending the remit of the Environment and Development sub-area of the Working Party on International Environment Issues, changing its name accordingly. In line with the wishes expressed by delegations, the horizontal aspects of SDS will be examined by the Permanent Representatives Committee in the light of the conclusions of the Seville European Council on 21 and 22 June 2002 concerning the organisation and functioning of the Council.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PREPARATION OF THE JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT

Ministers were informed by the Presidency over lunch of the state of play following the fourth meeting of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom IV), held in Bali from 27 May to 7 June 2002 with a view to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which is to take place from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg.

Negotiations in Bali focused on the implementation plan and the draft political declaration to be submitted to Heads of State or Government for approval at Johannesburg. While considerable progress was made, the meeting ran into difficulty over the means of implementation (particularly in trade and finance), target dates, specific implementation timetables (especially as regards poverty, water, energy and health) and work programmes for putting the objectives into practice.

The Presidency believes that increased efforts at the highest level are essential in the period leading up to the Johannesburg summit.

CLIMATE CHANGE - KYOTO PROTOCOL

COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING THE RATIFICATION OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL AND THE ANNOUNCEMENT MADE BY AUSTRALIA:

"The Council:

     expresses its satisfaction with the conclusion of the internal ratification process of the Kyoto Protocol by having deposited the European Union's sixteen instruments of ratification at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday 31 May;

     welcomes the conclusion of the ratification process of other Annex I Parties and the progress by other countries towards ratification;

     emphasises that the fact that more than 70 countries have now ratified the Kyoto Protocol is a clear signal that this legally binding instrument with its targets and timetables is the only effective multilateral framework for combating climate change;

     expresses its disappointment with the announcement recently made by the Prime Minister of Australia relating to the non-ratification of the Kyoto Protocol;

     calls upon all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to live up to their responsibilities under this Convention and to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990-levels, and calls in particular upon all Annex I countries that accepted the comprehensive and balanced package of decisions adopted in Bonn and Marrakesh, to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible."

CLIMATE CHANGE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION ALLOWANCE TRADING

The Council was briefed on the state of play on this proposal for a Directive, which is intended to create a Community market for emission allowance trading as part of the overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required by the Kyoto Protocol.

Three important issues relating in particular to the first phase in 2005-2007 remain undecided at this stage, i.e. whether the emission allowance trading scheme should be compulsory or optional, what its scope of application should be and how rights to pollute should be allocated.

While seeking an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the proposal aims to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market and prevent any distortions of competition which might result from the establishment of separate national trading schemes. The first phase of the scheme proposed by the Commission, between the beginning of 2005 and the end of 2007, precedes the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period.

It will be recalled that the Council discussed the proposal at its meeting on 12 December 2001 and that it was briefed on the stage reached in the initial proceedings at its meeting on 4 March 2002.

TRACEABILITY AND LABELLING OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS

The Council took note of the progress made, pending the European Parliament's Opinion, on the proposal for a Regulation concerning traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and traceability of food and feed products produced from GMOs.

This dossier was the subject of a public debate during the Council meeting on 29 October 2001 and an interim report was submitted to the Council at its meeting on 12 December 2001. Work remains to be done on various issues including the scope of the Regulation, communication of information on the potential presence of GMOs in products, traceability of derived products and threshold values for the adventitious presence of GMOs. A political agreement is expected at the meeting on 17 October 2002 at the earliest.

The proposal aims to facilitate the targeted monitoring of the potential effects of GMOs and GMO products, the control and verification of statements on labels and the withdrawal of products where an unexpected risk to human health or the environment is detected. Labelling requirements are intended to be additional to those laid down in Directive 2001/18/EC on the deliberate release into the environment of GMOs and those provided for in the draft Regulation (also currently under discussion) on genetically modified food and feed.

DANGEROUS CHEMICALS

  • Ratification of the Rotterdam Convention

  • Trade in hazardous chemicals

The Council noted the progress of proceedings on:

     the proposal for a Decision approving, on behalf of the European Community, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade;

  • the proposal for a Regulation aimed at replacing the voluntary PIC established by Regulation No 2455/92, in accordance with the Rotterdam Convention.

Examination of the dossier at this stage has focused on the Member States' role in implementing the Convention and on the application of the Regulation to countries which are not Parties to the Convention. The Permanent Representatives Committee moreover spoke unanimously in favour of the use of Article 175 (environment) of the Treaty as the legal basis for both texts instead of Article 133 (common commercial policy) as originally proposed. The European Parliament must therefore also be consulted on these texts, and the codecision procedure becomes applicable for the Regulation.

The Rotterdam Convention of September 1998 aims to replace the PIC established on a voluntary basis by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in which over 160 countries participate; both proposals are intended to apply and implement the Convention within the Community. The new Convention, signed by 73 Parties including the Community and all the Member States except Ireland, has already been the subject of 22 out of the 50 ratifications required for its entry into force.

The Rotterdam Convention provides in particular that: the Parties would have the right to refuse the import of hazardous chemicals: the export of certain chemicals (currently 26 pesticides and 5 industrial chemicals) could take place only after prior consent by the importing country; Parties must inform other Parties of national restrictions on the use of hazardous chemicals; and a Party that plans to export a hazardous chemical must inform the importing Party.

In addition to applying the principles established by the Convention, the proposal for a Regulation provides in particular for: extending the scope of export notification to a wider range of chemicals, extension of the PIC to chemicals that are banned or severely regulated in the Community, the possibility of banning the export of certain chemical products banned in the Community, and appropriate labelling of all chemicals exported from the Community.

OTHER BUSINESS

  • Clean technologies for diesel-engined cars

    The Council took note of a statement by the Swedish delegation asking the Commission to present a proposal to eliminate the barriers in Community law to the use of new technologies for diesel cars. The Swedish delegation stressed that particle filters are available which make it possible to improve significantly the quality of air in towns, even if current emission limit values (Directive 98/69/EC), which will be applicable in 2005, can be met without the use of this new technology. The Commission will study this question in order to assess the benefits of introducing this new technology.

  • Chemicals policy

    The Council was informed by the Commission of the progress of proceedings on establishing a Community policy on chemical products, which, following on from the February 2001 White Paper on the subject, would set up a single authorisation system for the treatment of most chemicals.

  • National sustainable development strategies

    The Council heard a contribution from the Portuguese delegation on the progress of proceedings on its national strategy for sustainable development, which is open for public discussion in Portugal. The Portuguese delegation suggested that other delegations present similar information so that information could be exchanged on the subject.

  • Production of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the European Union

    The Council took note of a statement by the Netherlands delegation noting the surplus supply of low-priced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in developing-country markets, which runs counter to efforts to preserve the ozone layer. The Netherlands delegation informed the Council of measures taken to halt production of CFCs in the Netherlands, and asked other Member States that still have productions rights (namely Spain, Greece, France, Italy and the UK) to do likewise.

  • Coexistence of genetically modified, traditional and organic crops

    The Council took note of statements by the German delegation, supported by the Austrian delegation, and by the Commission on the consequences of increased production of genetically modified crops for traditional and organic farming in the European Union, as regards the adventitious or inevitable presence of traces of genetically modified organisms. The German delegation cited the results of a recent study by the Joint Research Centre indicating that there was a risk of increased costs for organic farms, whose output must, according to the relevant regulations, be free of GMOs, and for traditional farms.

  • Integrated product policy

    The Council took note of a statement by the Belgian delegation asking the Commission to inform it of the progress of proceedings on the setting up of an integrated product policy to make it possible to take more effective environmental measures, taking account of all stages of a product's life cycle.

  • Climate change Legislation on fluorinated gases

    The Council took note of the progress of the Commission's preparation of a proposal to reduce emissions of fluorinated gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect, and of the concerns of the UK delegation should that proposal take the form of an amendment to Regulation 2037/2000 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, the effect of which would be to implement two international treaties by means of a single legal act. The UK delegation recalled that the Council conclusions on the European Climate Change Programme, adopted at its meeting on 12 December 2001, envisaged a framework Directive.

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

The documents whose references are given are available on the Council's Internet site http://ue.eu.int.

Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements may be obtained by following the procedure indicated above or from the Press Office.

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

EU Liechtenstein relations Conclusions

In response to the interest expressed by the Principality of Liechtenstein in being associated with the Schengen acquis and the Dublin Convention at the same time as Switzerland, for which the Council adopted the negotiating mandate on 17 June 2002, the Council approved the following conclusions:

"The Council takes note of the request by the Government of Liechtenstein to be associated with the implementation of the Schengen acquis and the implementation of the legislation on asylum, at the same time as Switzerland.

Taking into account the mandates for negotiations with Switzerland on the Schengen acquis and on asylum, the Council asks the Commission to present rapidly a recommendation to negotiate with Liechtenstein an agreement for the association of Liechtenstein with the implementation of the Schengen acquis and for the implementation of the legislation establishing Eurodac and the forthcoming legislation establishing the State responsible for examining requests for asylum."

Afghanistan Appointment of the new Special Representative of the European Union

(10028/02)

Following the agreement reached by the Council on 17 June 2002 concerning the nomination of Francesc Vendrell as the new Special Representative of the European Union in Afghanistan, the Council adopted the Joint Action amending and extending Joint Action 2001/875/CFSP concerning the appointment of the Special Representative of the European Union in Afghanistan. Mr Vendrell is appointed for a period of six months from 1 July to 31 December 2002 and will replace Mr Klaus-Peter Klaiber.

FYROM Extension of the mandate of the Special Representative of the European Union

(10030/02)

Further to the Council Decision of 13 May 2002, the Council approved the Joint Action extending the mandate of the Special Representative of the European Union in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr Alain Le Roy, for six months from 1 July to 31 December 2002.

Mr Le Roy was appointed on 29 October 2001 by Joint Action 2001/760/CFSP. His mandate was extended for the first time to 30 June 2002 by Joint Action 2002/129/CFSP.

Angola

(9950/02)

The Council adopted a Common Position on Angola, repealing Common Position 2000/391/CFSP, in the light of the substantial political changes that have occurred in Angola in the course of the year. In the context of this Common Position, the Union will pursue in particular the following objectives:

  • to support the process of peace, national reconciliation and democracy in Angola;

  • to support a sustainable political solution;

  • to urge the Government and UNITA to continue the full implementation of all provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding of 4 April 2002;

  • to encourage UNITA to reorganise itself as a political party;

  • to encourage the Government to hold free and fair elections as soon as possible;

  • to urge the Government to intensify its efforts to relieve the humanitarian situation and create the conditions to allow the international community to help.

In order to further these objectives, the Union will:

  • conduct political dialogue;

  • support, in the framework of the CFSP, initiatives contributing to a sustainable political solution;

  • act in accordance with the decision taken by the United Nations Security Council to suspend the travel ban on senior officials of UNITA for a period of ninety days and state its readiness to implement fully and without delay any lifting of sanctions by the Security Council following a positive implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding.

RELATIONS WITH ACP STATES

ACP-EC Council of Ministers (Punta Cana, 28 June 2002)

The Council approved an annotated agenda with a view to preparing the Community's statements at the 27th meeting of the ACP-EC Council of Ministers, which will be held at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on 28 June 2002. The ACP-EC Council will discuss in particular the following points: ratification of the Cotonou Agreement, economic partnerships agreements, trade cooperation, political dialogue, participation of ACP non-State actors in the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement, enlargement of the Union and preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Internal Financial Agreement Extension of provisional application

(9914/02)

The Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, approved a Decision on the extension of the provisional application of the Internal Agreement between Member States on the financing and administration of Community aid under the Financial Protocol to the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou (Benin) on 23 June 2000.

It was decided to extend the provisional application of certain provisions relating to the 9th European Development Fund until the entry into force of the Cotonou Agreement, once all the ratification procedures required had been completed (ratification required by two-thirds (51) of the ACP States and by the 15 Member States of the European Union).

ASSOCIATION WITH CCEE

Bulgaria Processed agricultural products

(9896/02)

The Council agreed to the EU-Bulgaria Association Council adopting, by the written procedure, a Decision concerning the improvement of the trade arrangements for processed agricultural products. The Decision aims to implement the outcome of the negotiations with Bulgaria on reciprocal improvements in access to the markets of both parties for these products

Latvia/Lithuania Protocol on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products (PECA)

(9728/02 and 7378/02 for Latvia/9733/02 and 7379/02 for Lithuania)

The Council adopted two Decisions relating to the conclusion of an Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreements with Latvia and Lithuania on conformity assessment and acceptance of industrial products signed in Brussels on 21 May 2002.

The purpose of the Protocol is to facilitate the elimination of technical barriers to trade in industrial products. To this end, it provides for the mutual acceptance of the industrial products listed in the Annexes and the mutual recognition of the results of conformity assessment.

TRADE QUESTIONS

Antidumping Urea

(9682/02)

The Council adopted by simple majority, with Spain voting against, a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 92/2002 imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty and collecting definitively the provisional anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of urea originating in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Libya, Lithuania, Romania and the Ukraine.

ECOFIN

Financial Regulation *

Following a conciliation meeting with the European Parliament on 4 June 2002, the Council adopted the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities.

The Regulation reaffirms the four fundamental principles of budgetary law (unity, universality, specification, annuality), and the principles of budget accuracy, equilibrium, unit of account, sound financial management and transparency.

The Regulation confines itself to stating the broad principles and basic rules governing the whole budgetary sector covered by the Treaty. The implementing provisions are moved to a Regulation on rules for the implementation in order to produce a better hierarchy of rules and make the Financial Regulation easier to read. Accordingly, the Council has authorised the Commission to adopt the implementing rules.

CULTURE

Cooperation in the field of culture

The Council adopted a Resolution on a new work plan on European cooperation in the field of culture (9205/02). This work plan, with an indicative and non-exhaustive list of priority topics, responds to the need for a more coherent approach to action at Community level in the field of culture. It envisages improved cooperation in this field by creating a structured framework with a work plan for discussions of priority topics of common interest and, where appropriate, the creation of new strategies.

"Preserving tomorrow's memory preserving digital content for future generations"

The Council adopted the resolution "Preserving tomorrow's memory preserving digital content for future generations" (9206/02). This Resolution stresses the need to continue to develop methods and guidelines for long-term preservation of these records, documents, collections and archives essential for safeguarding the heritage of Europe.

The Council is therefore convinced that it is essential to target practical actions, shared by all of the Member States, that will address the high fragmentation of approaches across different cultural sectors and take into consideration not only the technological challenges but also the broader socio-economic implications.

RESEARCH

Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Republic of India

The Council adopted the Decision concerning the conclusion of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the Republic of India (9312/02).

The cooperation provided for under this Agreement may cover all the activities of research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) included in the first activity of the sixth Community research and technological development framework programme, and all similar RTD activities in India in the corresponding scientific and technological fields. The Agreement does not affect the participation of India, as a developing country, in Community activities in the field of research for development.

TRANSPORT

Speed limitation devices for certain categories of motor vehicles *

By a qualified majority, with the United Kingdom delegation voting against, the Council adopted a common position on the Directive on the installation and use of speed limitation devices for certain categories of motor vehicles (8625/02). This text will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading under the co-decision procedure.

The text aims to extend the scope of application of Directive 92/6/EEC to category M2 motor vehicles, to category M3 vehicles with a maximum mass in excess of 5 tonnes but not exceeding 10 tonnes, and to category N2 vehicles, and includes the great majority of the amendments adopted by the European Parliament at first reading.

Community vessel traffic monitoring system

The Council adopted the Directive establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC incorporating all the amendments approved by the European Parliament at second reading (3634/02).

This Directive is to be seen against the background of the second Commission communication on maritime safety following the sinking of the Erika. Its purpose is to help improve maritime safety and to reduce the possible environmental consequences of an accident at sea. Achieving these objectives involves extending the declaration obligations on vessels before entering Member States' waters, the use of EDI (electronic data interchanges) and the automatic vessel identification system (AIS system), increased cooperation among Member States and closer monitoring of vessels presenting a specific risk to maritime safety and the environment.

European Maritime Safety Agency

The Council adopted the Regulation establishing a European Maritime Safety and Ship Pollution Prevention Agency incorporating all the amendments approved by the European Parliament at second reading (9879/02).

The Regulation aims to ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety by creating this European Agency which will provide the Member States and the Commission with the technical and scientific assistance needed and with a high level of expertise in order to help them to apply Community legislation in the field of maritime safety properly, to monitor its implementation and to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures in place.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Recommendation on the protection of personal data

The Council adopted a Decision authorising the Member States to vote unanimously on behalf of the European Community in favour of the Council of Europe's adopting a Recommendation on the protection of personal data collected and processed for insurance purposes (7709/02).

Processing of personal data and the protection of privacy *

By a qualified majority, with the Luxembourg delegation voting against, the Council adopted the Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector incorporating all the amendments approved by the European Parliament at second reading.

This text is the last element for reforming telecommunications regulations, as the other elements (four Directives and one Decision) have been adopted and were published in the Official Journal on 24 April 2002. Dovetailing with this regulatory framework for electronic communications infrastructure and associated services, the Directive aims to create rules which are technologically neutral, while maintaining a high level of data protection and privacy for citizens.

INTERNAL MARKET

Suspension of tariff duties on aircraft

The Council adopted a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 3050/95 temporarily suspending the autonomous Common Customs Tariff duties on a number of products intended for the construction, maintenance and repair of aircraft (8713/02). The amendment aims primarily to extend the suspension of autonomous duties introduced by the Regulation in force to include ground flying trainers for civil use.

Suspension of customs duties on airworthiness certificates

The Council adopted a Regulation temporarily suspending the autonomous Common Customs Tariff duties on certain goods imported with airworthiness certificates (8697/02).

This Regulation aims to alleviate the administrative burden for economic operators in the aircraft sector since it would reduce the need for these companies to use suspensive customs regimes such as favourable tariff treatment for goods by reason of their end-use, inward processing relief or customs warehousing.

INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

European Communities Recruitment Office

(8149/02)

The Council adopted a Decision establishing a single European Communities Recruitment Office for the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission, the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the Ombudsman.

The duties of the Recruitment Office will be to select officials and other servants to serve the European Communities, draw up aptitude lists from among candidates in open competitions, although each Institution will decide on the appointment of successful candidates, and assist the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies established by or in accordance with the Treaties with internal competitions and the selection of other servants.

European Parliament elections *

Having obtained the assent of the European Parliament on 12 June 2002, the Council adopted a Decision amending the Act, of 20 September 1976, concerning the election of the representatives of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage. The objective is to enable elections to be held in accordance with principles common to all Member States while leaving Member States free to apply their national provisions in respect of aspects not governed by this Decision.

It should be noted that the Council reached political agreement on this text on 23 May 2002. The draft was then forwarded to the European Parliament for its assent, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty (Article 190(4)). The Decision will now be submitted to the Member States for ratification according to their respective constitutional arrangements.

The common principles provide in particular for the following:

  • Elections will be by direct universal suffrage and shall be free and secret.

  • Members of the European Parliament will be elected on the basis of proportional representation, using the list system or the single transferable vote. Member States may establish constituencies or subdivide its electoral area in a different manner, without affecting the essentially proportional nature of the voting system.

  • Member States may set a minimum threshold for the allocation of seats. At national level this threshold may not exceed 5% of votes cast.

  • From the European Parliament elections in 2004, the office of member of the European Parliament will be incompatible with that of member of a national parliament. By way of derogation from that rule:

       members of the Irish National Parliament who are elected to the European Parliament at a subsequent poll may have a dual mandate until the next election to the Irish National Parliament;

       members of the United Kingdom Parliament who are also members of the European Parliament during the five-year term preceding election to the European Parliament in 2004 may have a dual mandate until the 2009 European Parliament elections.

APPOINTMENTS

Committee of the Regions

The Council adopted the Decision appointing

  • as members of the Committee of the Regions:

    • Mr Laust GROVE VEJLSTRUP in place of Mr Ejgil W. RASMUSSEN,

    • Ms Helene LUND in place of Mr Søren ANDERSEN,

    • Mr Johnny SØTRUP in place of Mr Anker BOYE,

  • as alternate members of the Committee of the Regions:

    • Mr Kristian EBBENSGAARD in place of Ms Kresten PHILIPSEN,

    • Mr Jan BOYE in place of Mr Christian OVERDAL AAGAARD,

    • Mr Per BØDKER ANDERSEN in place of Ms Else KØBSTRUP,

    • Mr Hans TOFT in place of Mr Kurt HOCKERUP,

    • Mr Sonny BERTHOLD in place of Ms Helene LUND,

for the remainder of their term of office, which runs until 25 January 2006.

(1) Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.


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