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The Environment Council is composed of environment ministers who meet about four times a year. It decides by qualified majority in codecision with the European Parliament.
In this sector, the European Community has the task of fostering the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities which respects the need, in particular, to ensure a high level of environmental quality.
To achieve this, it aims to preserve the quality of the environment, human health, the prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources and to promote measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems.
While taking into account the diversity of situations in the various regions of the Community, Community policy on the environment is based on the precautionary principle and on the principles that preventive action should be taken, that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source and that the polluter should pay.