IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to adisclaimerand acopyright notice
 
Contact   |   Search  

 << HOME
   
Enlargement process
Acceding countries
Candidate countries
Potential candidate countries
Financial assistance

  Projects

Who does what?
Direct Access
Press corner
Enlargement videos
Picture gallery
Turkish Cypriot community
Chapter 22 - Environment
Graphical element
 

December 2004

Background

The acquis

The environmental acquis covers a wide range of measures, mostly in the form of directives. In broad terms EU environmental legislation covers environmental quality protection, polluting and other activities, production processes, procedures and procedural rights as well as products. Apart from horizontal issues (environmental impact assessments, access to information on environment, combating climate change), quality standards are set for Air, Waste management, Water, Nature protection, Industrial pollution control, Chemicals and genetically modified organisms, Noise and Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (safety issues arising from the use of nuclear energy are part of the energy chapter).

Despite significant improvements, such as cleaner air and safer drinking water the environmental acquis is developing significantly. The new Environment Action Programme identifies four priority areas: Climate Change, Nature and Biodiversity, Environment and Health and Natural Resources and Waste.

Tasks for candidate countries

Transposition of the environmental acquis into the national legal order and its implementation are major tasks. The list of priority tasks features:

  • Community framework legislation (including access to information and environmental impact assessment);
  • measures relating to international conventions to which the Community is party;
  • reduction of global and trans-boundary pollution;
  • nature protection legislation (aimed at safeguarding bio-diversity),
  • measures ensuring the functioning of the internal market (e.g. product standards).

A strong and well-equipped administration is required for the application and enforcement of the environmental acquis.

Moreover, in line with Article 6 of the EC Treaty, integration of environmental protection requirements in other policy areas should be envisaged in order to contribute to sustainable development.

Costs and benefits

Ensuring compliance with the environment acquis requires an estimated investment of around 80 to 120 billion for the ten Central and Eastern European Countries alone. However, a study financed by the European Commission shows that implementing the EU environmental directives - and the higher environmental protection they entail - in the candidate countries, will bring significant benefits for public health and reduce costly damage to forests, buildings, fields and fisheries. The estimated total value of the benefits of EU directives for the candidate countries will range from 134 to 681 billion.

EU approach to transitional measures

Based on the general principle that transitional measures should be limited in time and scope, the EU has underlined from the very beginning of the negotiations that transitional measures will not be granted on

  • transposition (as opposed to implementation);
  • framework legislation (air, waste, water, impact assessment, access to information);
  • nature protection (habitat, birds);
  • essentials of the internal market (all product-related legislation);
  • new installations;

while they can be considered where

  • substantial adaptation of infrastructure is required which needs to be spread over time.

Requests for transitional measures need to be justified by detailed implementation plans ensuring that compliance with the acquis will be reached over time. These plans also allow candidate countries to define intermediate targets which will be legally binding. Hence, transitional measures aim to allow the future Member States to deal with the legacy of the past but not to attract new investments with lower environmental standards.

State of play

The chapter was closed with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia in December 2002. The chapter was closed with Bulgaria and Romania in December 2004.

All candidate countries have requested transitional measures and technical adaptations. As a result of negotiation, clarification and substantial additional efforts by the candidate countries, several of these requests have been withdrawn. As a result, limited transitional periods have been granted in relation to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage and distribution of petrol, sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, urban waste water treatment, drinking water, discharges of dangerous substances into the aquatic environment, packaging and packaging waste, landfill of waste, asbestos waste, shipments of waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment, use of clap-nets for capture of certain bird species to establish a captive breeding system, strict protection of lynx, integrated pollution prevention and control, large combustion plants, incineration of hazardous waste and ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure.

In cases where the chapter was closed, the schedules for transposition and implementation of the environment acquis have been fully clarified, including plans on further strengthening of the administrative capacity.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/key_documents/reports_2004_en.htm.

Country by country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: July 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2003)
  • Transitional arrangements :
    • sulphur content of liquid fuels until 2011
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2009
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste (amended Directive) until 2014
    • landfill of certain liquid wastes until 2014
    • shipment of waste until 2009
    • waste electrical and electronic equipment until 2008
    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2011
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2014
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2014

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in July 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • recovery targets of packaging waste until 2005
    • air pollution from large combustion plants, special provisions
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2012
    • a one year derogation on sulphur content of certain liquid fuels, provided by the directive

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2005
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2010
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2007

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2006
    • landfill of oil shale until 2009
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2010
    • quality of drinking water until 2013
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2015
    • strict protection of lynx, special provision

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2005
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2004
    • incineration of hazardous waste until 2005

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in November 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2008
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • landfill of waste until 2004
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • quality of drinking water until 2015
    • integrated pollution and prevention control until 2010 (instead of 2007 for Member States)
    • storage of asbestos waste until 2004
    • health protection of individuals against ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure until 2005

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: November 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2007
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2006
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2009
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2015

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: June 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2002)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2004
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2009, beverage packaging until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until March 2007
    • quality of drinking water until 2005
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until March 2007
    • protection of wild birds, use of clap-nets for capture of seven finch species in order to establish a captive breeding system until 2008
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2005

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • sulphur content of liquid fuels until 2006
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2005
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • waste landfills until 2012 (instead of 2009 for Member States)
    • shipment of waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until 2007
    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2010 (instead of 2007 for Member States)
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2017
    • health protection of individuals against ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure until 2006

Romania

  • Chapter opened:March 2002
  • Status: Closed December 2004 (provisionally closed in November 2004)
  • Transitional arrangements :
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2009
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste (amended Directive) until 2013
    • landfill of certain liquid wastes until 2013; waste landfills until July 2017 (instead of 2009 for Member States)
    • shipment of waste until 2011
    • waste electrical and electronic equipment until 2008
    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2015
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2018
    • quality of drinking water until 2015
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until 2009
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2013 and 2016-2017
    • incineration of hazardous medical waste until 2009

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened:March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in December 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage of petrol until 2007
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • discharges of dangerous substances into surface water until 2006
    • integrated pollution prevention control until 2011
    • air pollution from large combustion plants until 2007
    • incineration of hazardous waste until 2006

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: December 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in March 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements:
    • recovery and recycling of packaging waste until 2007
    • treatment of urban waste water until 2015
    • integrated pollution prevention and control until 2011 (instead of 2007 for Member States)
- updated: 17/12/2004
 
Top
 
 
White line