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   On  12 July 1989,  that  is  to  say  just  six  months  after  I  became
   Environment  Commissioner,  the  Commission submitted a  proposal  for  a
   Regulation on the establishment of a European Environment Agency.
   Eight months later, on 22 March 1990, acting in record time,  considering
   the  slowness of the Community decision-making process,  the  Environment
   Ministers approved the Commission's proposal.
   However,  an article inserted in the Regulation by the Council  specifies
   that it will not enter into force until a decision has been taken on  the
   seat of the Agency.
   Over  the  last  14 months, despite all my efforts, the  efforts  of  the
   European Parliament,  which will be adopting a Resolution on the  subject
   on 14 June, and the efforts of the Ministers of the Governments concerned
   to  make rapid progress, it has proved impossible to reach  agreement  on
   the seat, because certain delegations for some reason wanted to link this
   decision with the more general question of the "package deal"  concerning
   the  seats of all the Institutions, which as you know has always  been  a
   highly  controversial  issue,  especially  as regards  the  seat  of  the
   European Parliament.
   As  I  have  said on more than one occasion in the  past,  this  game  of
   cross-vetos and what I would not hesitate to call blackmail can no longer
   continue, because every extra day's delay in the taking of a decision  on
   the seat delays the start of the work of the Agency by another day,  with
   serious repercussions both inside and outside the Community.
   The  fact  that  the  Agency  is  not  yet  operational  means  that  the
   conclusions  of the Dublin Summit last June in favour of a  strengthening
   of environmental protection cannot be applied on the timescale and in the
   ways  that  the  Heads of State and Government  intended  and  which  the
   objective  state  of the environment calls for.  And all this at  a  time
   when  major future developments are at stake in the negotiations  at  the
   Inter-governmental Conference.
   I  should  briefly like to run through the effects of the  absence  of  a
   decision on the seat and the inability of the Agency to operate.
   1.    I  feel I should point, first of all, out that we are  preparing  a
         major  strategy document setting out the broad lines  of  Community
         environment  policy  to  the  end  of  the  century  (Fifth  Action
         Programme).  This  document, which will be based on a state of  the
         environment  report will be unable to benefit from a great deal  of
         information  of  an interdisciplinary nature and  of  global  scope
         which  would  have made it possible to define more fully  and  more
         accurately the basis for future action.
                                     - 2 -
   2.    To   my  way  of  thinking,  the  main  adverse  effects   on   the
         implementation  of  the  existing policies and  directives  are  as
     -   Difficulties,  shortcomings and delays in the difficult  but  vital
         process  of  integration of the environment  dimension  into  other
     -   Partial  and  in some cases total lack of data needed  to  quantify
         some  of the measures in preparation.  I am thinking, for  example,
         of  the  problem of packaging, where we will be  obliged  to  delay
         certain  proposals  for concrete measures because we  do  not  have
         sufficiently detailed data on the subject.
     -   Difficulty  in  adapting  existing  legislation,  e.g.   concerning
         drinking water and toxic gas emissions.
     -   Difficulty in processing the data which the Member States supply to
         the  Commission  to enable it to monitor the  fulfilment  of  their
   3.    In  addition,  it  should be pointed out as  regards  research  and
         modelling  on environmental impact and the state of the  ecosystem,
         that  the delays will jeopardize the results and work  carried  out
         under  the  experimental  Corine  Programme  designed  to   improve
         understanding of the relationships between human activities and the
   4.    However,  the Member States too are suffering the  consequences  of
         the   absence  of  the  Agency,  because  they   are   encountering
         considerable difficulties in organizing their national surveillance
         and  information systems and are tempted to proceed  independently,
         thus   working   against  the  objective   of   harmonization   and
         compatibility of data.
     Furthermore,  the fact that it has been impossible so far to  adopt  an
     overall  work programme for the first years of activity of  the  Agency
     inevitably spreads confusion among the national programmes and those in
     which the Community is involved.
   5.    Lastly, where non-member countries are concerned, I should like  to
         emphasize  the  exceptional  interest  shown so  far  by  the  EFTA
         countries  and  the countries of Eastern and Central  Europe  which
         have repeatedly asked to be able to cooperate as soon as  possible.
         And  it  is not a question of prestige or  appearances:  all  these
         countries  are  convinced that the Agency will be able to  play  an
         important role in safeguarding the ecosystem, providing comparative
         and  compatible data and methods on environmental trends  in  those
         countries.  I  can also tell you that one of those  countries  have
         offered to provide the seat for the Agency.
                                     - 3 -
   I  really  do hope that it will not come to the point where  we  have  to
   transfer  to a non-Community country the seat of a European Agency  which
   the  twelve Community countries wanted first and which meets  irrefutable
   objective needs.
   In  recent  months  there  has been a  clear  demonstration  of  how  the
   Community  has  been  able  to move from  words  to  actions  as  regards
   environment  policy,  setting  itself ambitious  objectives,  adopting  a
   coherent  strategy and approving a series of legislative  measures  which
   are exceedingly important for our generation and the next generation.
   It  is  time therefore that the machinery which we need for  our  actions
   should  come  into  operation.  Every  additional  day  of  delay  causes
   additional damage and uncertainty in an area in which clear and  complete
   information,  transparent  and comparable data make it possible  to  take
   timely and incontestable decisions.
   In  order to cut the Gordian knot, I call upon the Commission  to  invite
   the  European Council to decide to separate this issue from the  question
   of the other seats and give the Environment Council the task of approving
   a seat by the end of October of this year.
   A  specific initiative is justified because the situation  regarding  the
   seat of the Agency is objectively different from that of the Institutions
   which  have been operating for many years, irrespective of  the  decision
   taken  on  their  definitive  seats  and  the  seats  of  new  bodies  in
   preparation which have not yet approved in a Community legislative act.
   I  would also ask the Commission, if the European Council does not  agree
   to  separate this issue from the package or if the Council  of  Ministers
   proves  unable to decide by the end of October, to make its own  proposal
   concerning  the seat and ask for a specific mandate to take the  decision
   in question by itself.
   Naturally, I also propose to the Commission that we submit a proposal for
   a Regulation to remove the article which ties the birth of the Agency  to
   a decision on its seat.
   I  am  counting  on  your support to influence  public  opinion  and  the
   competent authorities so that action can be taken as soon as possible  in
   the interest of all concerned.  At the risk of repeating myself, when  it
   comes to protecting the environment actions speak louder than words.
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