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C/03/165

Luxembourg, 13 June 2003

10273/03 (Presse 165)

2517th Council meeting - Environment - Luxembourg, 13 June 2003

President :

Ms Vasso PAPANDREOU

Minister for Environment, Regional Planning and Public Works of Greece of the Hellenic Republic

CONTENTS (1)

PARTICIPANTS 4

ITEMS DEBATED

environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage Public deliberation 6

emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from non-road mobile machinery 7

monitoring mechanism of Community greenhouse gas emissions and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol 8

Legislative package on chemicals 9

OTHER BUSINESS 10

     "ENVIRONMENT FOR EUROPE" PANEUROPEAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE 10

     ACTION PLAN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY 11

     FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT, GOVERNANCE AND TRADE 11

     SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENLARGED UNION 11

     NATURA 2000 12

     VEHICLE EMISSIONS 12

     DESIGNATION OF PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE AREAS (PSAs) 13

     FLOOD PREVENTION 13

     HERBICIDE PARAQUAT 13

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

ENVIRONMENT

  • Forest Focus * Public deliberation I

  • Transboundary movement of GMOs Public deliberation I

  • Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution II

EMPLOYMENT

  • Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States II

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

  • Visa III

TRADE POLICY

  • Antidumping duty on imports of certain malleable cast iron tube or pipe fittings consigned from Argentina III

ROAD TRANSPORT

  • Training for drivers III

AVIATION

  • Safety of third country aircraft III

PARTICIPANTS

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

Belgium :

Mr Didier GOSUINMinister of the Brussels Capital Regional Government, with responsibility for the Environment, Water Policy, Nature Conservation, Public Hygiene and Foreign Trade
Denmark :
Mr Hans Christian SCHMIDTMinister for the Environment
Germany :
Mr Jürgen TRITTINFederal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety
Greece :
Ms Vasso PAPANDREOUMinister for the Environment, Regional Planning and Public Works
Ms Rodoula ZISIState Secretary for the Environment, Regional Planning and Public Works
Spain :
Ms Elvira RODRÍGUEZ HERRERMinister for the Environment
France :
Mr Christian MASSETDeputy Permanent Representative
Ireland :
Mr Pat the COPE GALLAGHERMinister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government
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 Eugene BERGERState Secretary for the Environment
Netherlands :
Mr Pieter VAN GEELState Secretary for Housing, Planning and the Environment
Austria :
Mr Jozef PRÖLLFederal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management
Portugal :
Mr José Eduardo MARTINSState Secretary for the Environment
Finland :
Mr Jan-Erik ENESTAMMinister for the Environment
Sweden :
Ms Lena SOMMESTADMinister for the Environment
United Kingdom :
Ms Margaret BECKETTSecretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

* * *

Commission :
Ms Margot WALLSTRÖMMember

The Governments of the Acceding States were represented as follows:

Czech Republic :

Mr Libor AMBROSEKMinister for the Environment
Estonia :
Mr Margus RAHUOJADeputy Head of Mission
Cyprus :
Mr Michael CONSTENTINIDESPermanent Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Latvia :
Mr Raimonds VEJONISMinister for the Environment
Lithuania :
Mr Arunas KundrotasMinister for the Environment
Hungary :
Mr Miklós PERSÁNYIMinister for the Environment and Water
Malta:
Mr George PULLICINOMinister for Rural Affairs and the Environment
Poland :
Mr Krzysztof SZAMALEKState Secretary for the Environment
Slovakia :
Mr Lazslo MiklosMinister for the Environment
Slovenia :
Mr Janez KOPACMinister for the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy

ITEMS DEBATED

environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage Public deliberation

The Council reached agreement on the body of the text (article 1, articles 3 to 21 and article 2, §1 (3)) concerning the proposal for a Directive on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage. The German, the Austrian and the Irish delegations were unable to join the agreement.

The President invited the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) to finalise the work with a view to resolving the remaining issues:

     the definitions contained in article 2 of the proposal (with exception of article 2 § 1 (3), regarding the definition of protected species and habitats, on which agreement was reached);

     the technical issues in the annexes to the proposal.

Once these issues are resolved the Council is expected to adopt as soon as possible its common position, with a view to forwarding it to the European Parliament for a second reading, in accordance with the codecision procedure.

After an arduous negotiation, the Council was able to reach agreement on a compromise text tabled by the Presidency focusing on the following key issues:

    Scope of the proposed Directive

The proposal aims at covering environmental damage caused by the operation of any occupational activities listed in the relevant annex to the proposal (inter alia, energy industries, production and processing of metals, mineral industry, chemical industry, waste management). As regards occupational activities other than the ones covered by the relevant annex, damage to protected species and natural habitats will be covered whenever the operator has been at fault or has been negligent.

    Subsidiary State liability

The competent national authority shall require that the necessary preventive and remedial measures are taken by the operator in line with the "polluter pays" principle. However, should the operator fail to comply with the obligations laid down by the proposed Directive, be unidentified, or not required to bear the costs under the proposal's provisions, the competent authority may take these measures itself.

    Mitigating factors

Member States may allow the operator not to bear the cost of remedial actions as required by the proposed Directive, if he demonstrates that he was not at fault or negligent. However, this possibility will only apply if he is able to demonstrate that the environmental damage was caused by an emission or activity expressly authorised by the competent national authority and that the emission, activity, or manner of using a certain product in the course of an activity, was not considered likely to cause environmental damage, in the light of the state of scientific and technical knowledge at the time of the event.

    Financial security provisions

Member States shall take measures to encourage the development of financial security instruments and markets with the aim of enabling operators to make use of appropriate financial guarantees to respond to their environmental responsibilities.

Within five years from the date of implementation of the proposed Directive, the Commission is requested to report on, inter alia, its effectiveness with respect to remediation of environmental damages and on the affordability of existing financial security systems. In the light of its report, the Commission may make proposals for the creation of a mandatory financial security system.

The proposal aims at establishing a framework whereby environmental damage can be prevented or remedied. There are a number of accidental circumstances that can lead to environmental damage (e.g. oil spills, collapse of waste retention dams, and chemical spills). In such cases, there is a need to ensure that the damaged environmental assets are restored; a better solution would be that the damage does not even occur, so that prevention is also a valuable objective in this context.

It does not cover environmental damage, or imminent threat of damage, in cases of armed conflict, hostilities, civil war or insurrection, as well as in the case of a natural phenomenon of exceptional, inevitable and irresistible nature.

In line with the "polluter pays" principle the proposal is aimed at making operators financially responsible for the necessary preventive and remedial measures.

emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from non-road mobile machinery

The Council agreed on a general approach, pending the European Parliament's opinion in first reading, on a proposal for a Directive relating to measures against the emission of gaseous (e.g. nitrogen dioxide) and particulate pollutants (e.g. black smoke and carbon monoxide) from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery (i.e. all machinery that is not intended for the transport of goods or passengers on the road). The United Kingdom delegation expressed its intention to abstain, once the Council is ready to adopt its common position at a forthcoming meeting.

The general approach provides for, inter alia, the inclusion in the scope of the proposed Directive of inland waterway vessels (e.g. tugs or pusher craft which are built to tow or push vessels of 20m or more) and railway locomotive engines.

The proposal follows on from Directive 97/68/EC, which implemented a two-stage approach to the reduction of emission limit values for compression ignition engines in this kind of machinery and called on the Commission to propose a further reduction in emission limits, taking into account technological developments in this field and the air quality situation at Union level. The current proposal is thus intended to amend the above mentioned Directive with a view to adapting its provisions to the current situation, particularly as regards the improvement of air quality.

Moreover, it aims at approximating the laws of the Member States relating to emission standards and type-approval procedures for this kind of engines and machinery. It is intended to promote the efficient functioning of the Internal Market, while protecting human health and the environment.

It is recalled that, the Council (Environment) adopted on 17 October 2002, a Directive on the same issue concerning in particular small spark ignition engines, such as lawn mowers, chain saws, trimmers, cutters, pumps, etc. (for further details, please consult Press Release doc. 12976/02).

monitoring mechanism of Community greenhouse gas emissions and implementation of the Kyoto Protocol

The Council held a policy debate on a proposal for a Decision for a monitoring mechanism of Community greenhouse emissions and the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

Ministers were asked by the Presidency to focus their interventions on the following issues:

    Time-plan

The proposal for a new monitoring mechanism would bring the Community in line with the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, its provisions are relevant for the assessment of the future national allocation plans in the framework of the proposal for a Community green gas emission allowance trading scheme(2). The proposal would also provide for the basic requirements for prompt use of the flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol (i.e. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); Joint Implementation (JI); Emissions Trading (ET)).

In view of the above, all delegations expressed their wish for the Council to reach political agreement on a common position at its next meeting (Environment) in October 2003.

    Base year

The Kyoto Protocol allows a choice between 1990 and 1995 as base year for the calculation of the initial assigned amount of a Party, for the three groups of fluorinated gases that are part of its scope.

The majority of Member States showed a preference for 1995 as base year. Some delegations wished to keep the flexibility provided in the Kyoto Protocol for choosing the base year.

    European Climate Change Programme (ECCP)

Although this was not included in the initial Commission's proposal, the majority of delegations have considered positively the possibility of making the ECCP a "national programme" for the Community. A small group of delegations, as well as the Commission, expressed their doubts on the benefits of its inclusion in the proposed Decision.

A number of Acceding States took the floor to express their wish that the possible inclusion of the Programme in the proposal should be done taking into account their particular needs and individual status visàvis the Kyoto Protocol.

The proposal is aimed at replacing Decision 93/389/EEC, which established a mechanism for monitoring anthropogenic (i.e. caused by human activity) greenhouse gas emissions. The objective is to make the Community and the Member States better able to comply with the reporting requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)(3) and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol(4).

It aims in particular at:

  • reflecting in the Monitoring Mechanism the reporting obligations and guidelines for the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol;

  • providing for further information on, and harmonisation of, emissions forecasts;

  • addressing reporting requirements and implementation relating to the "burden-sharing" between the Community and the Member States.

By replacing the existing Decision the proposal is expected to provide interested parties with a single clear and coherent legislative act. It takes into account the new reporting requirements agreed in the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP 7) to the UNFCCC, which met in Marrakesh, Morocco on 29 October 9 November 2001.

Legislative package on chemicals

The Council held a brief exchange of views on the chemicals legislative package, with respect to the forthcoming Commission's formal legislative proposals.

Several delegations welcomed the Commission's launch of its public consultation process on the Internet and underscored the importance of this issue for protection of the environment and human health, as well as for the competitiveness of the Union's chemical industry.

The idea for the creation of a European Chemicals Agency was welcomed by a number of delegations. Austria and Sweden expressed the wish to host it in their respective countries in the future.

The Council took note of the Commission's information that it expects to have a formal proposal ready in October 2003, for examination by the Council and the Parliament in first reading.

The Commission launched on 7 May 2003 an eight-weeks consultation procedure via the Internet on the draft chemicals legislation.

The proposal for a new Regulation, which is expected to replace some forty different pieces of current legislation, will be aimed at increasing the protection of human health and the environment from exposure to chemicals, while at the same time contributing to maintain and enhance the competitiveness and innovative capability of the Union's chemicals industry.

The implementation of the Union's chemicals policy is to be developed via a new system called REACH: Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, as set out in the Commission's White Paper on the "Strategy for a future Chemicals' Policy" (February 2001).

OTHER BUSINESS

  • "ENVIRONMENT FOR EUROPE" PANEUROPEAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE

    The Council took note of written information from the Presidency on the outcome of the fifth Pan-European Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe", which took place in Kiev, Ukraine on 21-23 May 2003

    In this context, the President expressed the need for the Union to develop a better strategy on participation in international level events in order to achieve costeffectiveness, better results, and enhanced synergy and to better channel Member States' efforts.

    Environment ministers and representatives from fifty one countries were present at the meeting, as well as representatives from the Commission, the United Nations (UN) and from other relevant public and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). A Ministerial Declaration was adopted.

    The Union's participation in the conference resulted in reconfirming its leading role in the wider European region in promoting Sustainable Development (SD) and strengthening its environmental pillar, particularly following the Union's enlargement. The conference resulted, inter alia, in the adoption and signing of the following three protocols:

      Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention;

      Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Aarhus Convention;

      Joint Protocol on Civil Liability for Trans-boundary Damage Caused by Hazardous Activities to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes and to the Convention on the Trans-boundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

    The Presidency regretted that no reference on the Kyoto Protocol and its Mechanisms was included in the Ministerial Declaration and that no basis for agreement could be attained on the nuclear safety issue, although Union, Acceding and Associated States, as well as others, delivered a separate Statement on Nuclear Safety, which will be included in the conference's final report.

    The Union is committed to the follow-up of the "Environment for Europe" process and will continue its efforts, inter alia, in the following areas: EU Water Initiative; EU Energy Initiative; Sustainable production and consumption; Education for SD, Biodiversity; Environmental expenditure.

    The Conference was aimed at further developing the "Environment for Europe" process, which aims at improving environmental conditions and promoting convergence on environmental quality and policies throughout Europe. It was prepared in the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE).

    It is recalled that, the Council (Environment) adopted Conclusions on this matter at its meeting on 4 March 2003.

    For further details on the outcome of the conference, please consult the following website: http://www.kyiv-2003.info/main/index.php .

    Moreover, for further details on this issue, please consult doc. 10284/03 on the Council's website http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm; Access to documents link).

  • ACTION PLAN FOR ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY

    The Council took note of joint written information from the Presidency and the Austrian delegation on the outcome of the Expert Conference: Towards Joint EU Action on Environmental Technologies, which took place in Vienna, on 26-27 May 2003. The conference was underpinned by the idea that environmental technologies play a substantial role in sustainable development, by both protecting the environment and ensuring economic growth and social cohesion.

    Around seventy participants from Union, Acceding, European Economic Area (EEA) and other European countries participated in the Conference, where the idea of developing an Union Action Plan for environmental technology was thoroughly examined.

    For further details on the outcome of the conference, please consult the following website: http://www.umweltmanagement.at/envtech.

    Moreover, for further details on this issue, please consult doc. 10330/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT, GOVERNANCE AND TRADE

    The Council took note of written information from the United Kingdom and Danish delegations on the Commission's Communication: Forest law enforcement, governance and trade: proposal for an Action Plan at EU level (23 May 2003). The Communication suggests ways in which the Union can help to combat illegal logging and trade in illegal timber, a substantial and growing problem around the world.

    The two delegations urged the Presidency to consider facilitating an early discussion on this topic in Council, with a view to allowing the Commission to work on its proposal in more detail. Both considered this to be an important issue and one that merited further attention from Member States and Acceding States.

    For further details on this issue please consult doc. 10311/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AN ENLARGED UNION

    The Council took note of written information from the Austrian delegation on the outcome of the workshop: Sustainable development in an enlarged Union: Linking national strategies and strengthening European coherence, which took place in Vienna on 27-29 April 2003.

    The workshop provided EU and national level policy makers, as well as co-ordinators working on sustainable development issues, with an opportunity to consider the challenges in the elaboration and implementation process of sustainable development strategies in Europe. Seventy participants from twenty three Union and Acceding countries took part in this event.

    For further details on this workshop, please consult the following website: www.nachhaltigkeit.at

    Moreover, for further details on this issue, please consult doc. 10101/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • NATURA 2000

    The Council took note of written information from the French delegation on the Natura 2000 network. The delegation expressed its concern in relation to the difficulties found in a number of countries with respect to its implementation, in view of the mild social acceptance that Natura 2000 has had, namely among stakeholders in the rural world.

    France was particularly concerned with the need to make Nature 2000 more concrete. This could be obtained by prioritising the management of the network, in order to analyse its future challenges, namely its funding after 2006.

    In this respect, the Portuguese, the Spanish and the Greek delegations underscored the need to achieve further progress in this area and supported some of the concerns expressed by the French delegation.

    The Council took note of written information from the Commission where it reported on the serious delays it has been experiencing in getting final approval from Member States for their lists of special areas of conservation. The Commission expected that all lists could be completed before the end of 2004. Moreover, it is currently working on a Communication concerning the future funding possibilities for Natura 2000 at Union level.

    For further details on this issue please consult doc. 10310/03 and doc. 10420/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • VEHICLE EMISSIONS

    The Council took note of information from the Commission on vehicle emissions in response to the German and French delegations' intervention during the Environment Council meeting on 4 March 2003. On that occasion, the two delegations underscored the importance of promoting more stringent limit values for exhaust gas (e.g. Nitrogen oxide - NOx) from passengers cars and lorries with diesel engines in line with the results of the 12th Franco-German Meeting of Environment Ministers, which took place in Potsdam, Germany on 27 February 2003.

    For more details on this matter, please consult Press Release doc. 6677/03.

  • DESIGNATION OF PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE AREAS (PSAs)

    The Council took note of written information by the French delegation on the joint proposal by Spain, France, Ireland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Belgium for the designation of a "particularly sensitive area in Western Europe", lodged at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on 11 April 2003.

    The proposal, which is in line with the main guidelines adopted by the Council (Transport) on 5 December 2002, following the accident with the single-hull tanker "Prestige" off the coast of Galicia, is aimed at banning the transport of heavy oil by single-hull tankers in this area of European maritime waters. The French delegation underscored the fact that the proposal does not intend to prohibit the transport of heavy fuel oil, or the operation of single-hull tankers in this area, but merely the traffic of this type of vessels carrying this kind of product.

    The delegation urged other Member States to support the group of six countries that lodged the proposal.

    For further details on this issue please consult doc. 9676/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • FLOOD PREVENTION

    The Council took note of written information from the French and Dutch Delegations on flood prevention. Both delegations considered that action at Union level needed to be reinforced in this area, as the frequency and violence of this phenomenon have shown a tendency to increase in most of Europe, putting a number of countries at risk. They urged the Commission to continue its efforts in this field and to strengthen its initiatives at Union level.

    For further details on this issue please consult doc. 10333/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm ; Access to documents link).

  • HERBICIDE PARAQUAT

    The Council took note of an intervention by the Swedish, the Finnish and the Danish delegations concerning the problems surrounding the herbicide paraquat, in the context of the Union's re-evaluation and approval of plant protection products. The three delegations were particularly concerned with the possible inclusion of this herbicide in Annex I to Directive 91/414/EC on plant protection products.

    According to them, paraquat is an extremely hazardous substance, highly toxic and which may cause severe and irreversible injuries in humans (it can be particularly dangerous for lungs, but can also affect eyes and skin). Currently, there is no known treatment for those injuries, some of them reportedly fatal.

    They urged other Member States to vote against the approval of this herbicide once the decision is tabled for voting at a forthcoming meeting of the Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

    The Council took note of information from the Commission that the voting is expected to take place in July 2003. Moreover, the Commission, in response to the concerns raised by the delegations, clarified that the proposed decision does not oblige Member States to approve products containing paraquat in their territory.

    For further details on this issue please consult doc. 10103/03 on the Council's website (http://consilium.europa.eu/en/summ.htm; Access to documents link).

ITEMS APPROVED WITHOUT DEBATE

ENVIRONMENT

Forest Focus * Public deliberation

The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a Regulation concerning monitoring of forests and environmental interactions in the Community (Forest Focus) (doc. 8243/03 + 9867/1/03 REV 1 ADD 1). The President took note of the abstentions of the Italian, Portuguese and Spanish delegations. The common position will be forwarded to the European Parliament for a second reading, in accordance with the co-decision procedure.

The common position responds to the concerns expressed by some Member States by introducing changes to the Commission's amended proposal with respect to the inclusion of forest fire prevention measures, the corresponding budget increase, as well as regards the comitology procedure.

The proposal aims to establish a new Community scheme to assess forest ecosystem conditions. It covers an initial six-year period (2003-2008) with a proposed budget of EURO 52 Million for the period 2003-2006. Financial resources for the remaining two years will be allocated according to the new financial perspectives for the Community.

It is recalled that, the Council reached political agreement on the draft Regulation at its meeting on 4 March 2003. For further details, please consult Press Release doc. 6677/03. (http://consilium.europa.eu/newsroom/ - links: Council; Environment).

Transboundary movement of GMOs Public deliberation

The Council adopted a Regulation on transboundary movements of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) (doc. 9900/03), in the form of the common position as amended by the European Parliament in second reading.

In this context, the President of the Council welcomed the deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification of the Protocol by the Republic of Ghana, as well as the information received on this occasion that the deposit of the 51st instrument of ratification by the Republic of Palau had just been undertaken. This meant that the minimum number of Parties to the Protocol had been reached, ensuring its future entry into force (90 days after the 51st ratification).

The Regulation is designed to implement part of the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety in the Community. While existing Community legislation covers to a large extent imports and trade in GMOs, the proposal is intended to fulfil the requirements under the Protocol on exporters by establishing a common system of notification and information for transboundary movements of GMOs.

It is recalled that, the Council adopted the common position at its meeting on 4 March 2003, and recently reached agreement with the Parliament on this legal act. For further details, please consult Press Releases docs. 6677/03 and 10227/03, respectively. (http://consilium.europa.eu/newsroom/ - links: Council; Environment).

Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution

The Council adopted a Decision on the accession of the European Community, to the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (so called Gothenburg Protocol) (doc. 8565/1/03 REV 1).

The Decision authorises the President of the Council to designate the person(s) (e.g. the Commission) empowered to deposit the instrument of accession with the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).

The Protocols sets maximum permitted levels of emissions (emissions ceilings) for each national Party for the four main precursor pollutants responsible for the above mentioned damages: sulphur dioxyde, oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ammonia. The ceilings are to be met by 2010. Implementation of the Protocol will contribute to achieving Community goals for protection of the environment and human health.

EMPLOYMENT

Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States

The Council adopted a Decision on Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States (doc. 10410/03).

The Decision focuses on 10 result-oriented priorities for action in the Member States, to be accompanied, whenever practicable, by targets:

    active and preventive measures for the unemployed and the inactive;

    job creation and entrepreneurship;

    address change and promote adaptability and mobility in the labour market;

    promote development of human capital and lifelong learning;

    increase labour supply and promote active ageing;

    gender equality;

    promote the integration of and combat the discrimination of people at a disadvantage in the labour market;

    make work pay through incentives to enhance work attractiveness;

    transform undeclared work into regular employment;

    address regional employment disparities.

It also includes a chapter on good governance and partnership for the implementation of the guidelines by the Member States (e.g. involvement of parliamentary bodies, the social partners and other relevant actors).

It is recalled that, the Council agreed on a general approach on the Decision at its meeting on 2-3 June 2003. For further details, please consult Press Release doc. 9688/03. (http://consilium.europa.eu/newsroom/ -links: Council; Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs).

JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

Visa

The Council amended the Common Consular Instructions and the Common Manual with a view to aligning these texts with Council Decision 2002/44/EC as regards visa fees (doc. 9791/03).

TRADE POLICY

Antidumping duty on imports of certain malleable cast iron tube or pipe fittings consigned from Argentina

The Council adopted a Regulation extending the definitive anti-dumping duty imposed by Regulation (EC) No 1784/2000 on imports of certain malleable cast iron tube or pipe fittings originating in Brazil and on imports of certain malleable cast iron tube or pipe fittings consigned from Argentina, whether declared as originating in Argentina or not, and terminating the investigation in respect of imports from one Argentinian exporter (doc. 9717/03).

ROAD TRANSPORT

Training for drivers

The Council adopted a Directive on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers following an agreement reached with the European Parliament in second reading under the co-decision procedure (doc. 10024/03 + 10024/03 ADD1).

The amendments agreed by the Council and the European Parliament introduce the monitoring of the level of qualification achieved in the overall assessment of the Directive and also the instruction of drivers in the prevention of crime as this is becoming a serious pan-European problem.

The text is aimed at establishing a Community framework on a compulsory training for both young people interested in becoming professional drivers and drivers who are already working. This legal text encompasses the existing vocational training under Regulation 3820/85/EEC and provides answers to the specific problems of recruitment, quality and competition.

AVIATION

Safety of third country aircraft

The Council adopted a common position on a Directive establishing safety rules to be respected by third country aircraft using Community airports. In accordance with the co-decision procedure the text of the common position will be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading.

The proposal is aimed at establishing a legal framework for the introduction and the operational application of a safety assessment of foreign carriers operating services to and from EU countries, while leaving enough margin to the Member States to build the corresponding mechanisms individually or collectively.

________________________

(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.?The documents whose references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site HYPERLINK "http://register.consilium.europa.eu/scripts/utfregisterDir/WebDriver.exe?MIval=advanced&MIlang=EN&fc=REGAISEN&srm=5&ssf=&mt=128&md=100"http://consilium.europa.eu.?Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements are available on the above mentioned Council Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office.

(2) It is recalled that, the Council adopted its common position on this issue on 18 March 2003.

(3) For further details on the Convention, please consult the following website: HYPERLINK http://unfccc.int/ http://unfccc.int/

(4) The Community ratified the Protocol on 31 May 2001. For the full text of the Protocol, please consult the following webpage: HYPERLINK http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/kpeng.html


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