The Council reached unanimous political agreement on its common position on the proposal for a Directive harmonizing the measures to be taken against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery.

The common position will be adopted formally when the text has been finalized; it will then be sent to the European Parliament, which will carry out a second reading under the co­decision procedure.

The Directive proposed lays down, inter alia, emission standards and type-approval procedures for engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery. It will contribute to the completion of the single market while protecting human health and the environment.

The machinery in question includes, inter alia, the following equipment:

- industrial drilling rigs, compressors, etc.;

- construction equipment including wheel loaders, bulldozers, crawler tractors, crawler loaders, truck­type loaders, off­highway trucks, hydraulic excavators, etc.;

- agricultural equipment, rotary tillers;

- forestry equipment;

- self­propelled agricultural vehicles (except tractors);

- material-handling equipment;

- fork­lift trucks;

- road­maintenance equipment (motor graders, road rollers, asphalt finishers);

- snow­plough equipment;

- ground­support equipment in airports;

- mobile cranes.

Neither agricultural nor forestry tractors are covered by this Directive; they will be dealt with in a separate proposal to be submitted by the Commission.

The proposal lays down limit values for the main pollutants which must be achieved in two stages and in steps depending on the power of the engines concerned.

The limit values under Stage I must be achieved between 30 September 1998 and 31 March 1999 and those under Stage II between 31 December 2000 and 31 December 2003, depending on the category of engine.

Nevertheless, for each category Member States may postpone the above requirement for two years in respect of engines with a production date prior to the above dates.

The emissions of carbon monoxide, the emissions of hydrocarbons, the emissions of the oxides of nitrogen and the emissions of particulates obtained shall for Stage I not exceed the amount shown in the table below:








Oxides of





130 £ P < 560
75 £ P < 130
37 £ P < 75

The maximum quantities for Stage II are as follows:








Oxides of





130 £ P < 560
75 £ P < 130
37 £ P < 75
18 £ P < 37

The reductions thus achieved in the present emission levels are estimated at 29% for hydrocarbons, nearly 50% for oxides of nitrogen and 67% for particulates.

The Council and the European Parliament will decide by the end of the year 2000 on a proposal which the Commission will submit before the end of 1999 which will aim at a further reduction in emission limit values, taking into account the global availability of techniques for controlling air-polluting emissions from compression-ignition engines and the air-quality situation.

Unlike the Commission proposal, the common position does not set up a Community framework for the tax incentives that the Member States might introduce.

The engines covered by this proposal for a Directive have not so far been subject to any emission standards. The atmospheric pollution caused by the diesel engines of such non-road machinery is, however, relatively high as regards oxides of nitrogen and particulates. In fact, in 1990 such pollution represented 7% of the NOx emissions and 1% of the particulate emissions generated by human activity in the European Union, or the equivalent of 37% and 33% of the emissions from diesel engines in road vehicles respectively.

NOx cause acidification and ozone formation. Particulate emissions are harmful or mutagenic and therefore recognized as a serious health risk.


The Council reached a unanimous political agreement on a common position concerning the Directive for the placing on the market and the use of biocides and their active substances.

The Permanent Representatives Committee was instructed to finalize the text of the common position with a view to its adoption, as an A item, at a forthcoming meeting.

It will then be forwarded to the European Parliament, for second reading according to the co­decision procedure.

The aim of the Directive is to set up a harmonized approach for authorizing biocides throughout the Community; it complements existing Community legislation on similar products (e.g. pesticides) and thus puts an end to fragmentation of the internal market for chemicals. A Community action is needed in order to ensure a proper functioning of the internal market and to guarantee at the same time a high level of protection for humans, animals and the environment.

The Directive will cover approximately 14 000 products and their more or less 400 active substances, ranging from products for hygiene purposes, to disinfectants, wood preservatives, rodenticides, insecticides, etc.

Following the basic principles - one authorization per product and mutual recognition throughout the Community - the Directive establishes harmonized authorization procedures including simplified procedures for frame­formulations, low­risk biocidal products and commodity substances. It introduces a new concept into Community law: the principle of comparative assessment which envisages to eliminate in the long term more dangerous substances if alternative substances exist.

The Directive also contains common principles for the evaluation of biocidal products: any risk arising from the use of a biocidal product shall have to be identified on the basis of data resulting from testing. Following its overall evaluation, a biocide shall or shall not be authorized.

Finally, one of the concerns of the Directive is to try to avoid duplication of or unnecessary testing on animals.


"1. The Council welcomes the approach for a strategy put forward by the Commission in its communication for reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars and improving fuel economy. Taking account of its conclusions of 15­16 December 1994, 9 March 1995 and 22­23 December 1995, it reiterates the importance which it attaches to a Community initiative in this area. Community action in this area will also support work presently undertaken in the context of the international efforts for combating climate change within the mandate decided upon at the First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Berlin 1995).

2. The Council affirms the medium­term objective to reach an average CO2­emission value for newly registered cars in the European Union corresponding to 120 g CO2/km which is roughly equivalent to an average consumption of 5 l/100 km for petrol cars and 4,5 l/100 km for diesel cars. This means a significant reduction of the present level of CO2 emissions. The aim is to reach this objective by 2005. The Council is of the opinion that achievement of this will require the immediate establishment of intermediate emission objectives in a phased approach demonstrating substantial progress which should be the subject of close monitoring. Should it appear that it is not possible fully to achieve the objective by 2005, the phasing could be extended, but in no case beyond 2010.

3. The Council is of the opinion that only a comprehensive and consistent strategy will be able to ensure that the average CO2­emission­value target mentioned above will be met and further progress has to be made in reducing fuel consumption in the longer term.

4. The Council believes that the priority actions, proposed by the Commission, consisting of an agreement with industry in combination with market incentives and consumer information, are an important step forward in this context. It agrees that a strategy for reducing CO2 from cars should, in the short term, be based on these priority actions. The Council considers that measures for reducing CO2 emissions should be coherent with other environmental objectives, in particular air quality objectives including tropospheric ozone, and acidification, and should not compromise traffic safety.

The Council is concerned about the possibility that the approach for a strategy proposed by the Commission may in the end not be sufficient to ensure the attainment of the average CO2­emission­value target set out in paragraph 2 above.

The Council believes, therefore, that:

- the priority actions as mentioned above should be implemented within the shortest possible timescales, and calls on the Commission to start to undertake the necessary steps;

- the effectiveness of the strategy should be evaluated regularly and, therefore, the establishment of a monitoring system is of crucial importance.

5. Furthermore, the Council is of the opinion that the strategy could, where appropriate, be supplemented by certain other measures, including traffic management schemes, which, inter alia, might aim at influencing driving behaviour, at shifting traffic towards more environmentally­friendly modes of transport, including public transport as advocated in the Commission's green paper entitled "The Citizens' Network", and at addressing other sources of CO2 emissions in the transport sector.

The Council invites the Commission to consider such measures, to report to the Council at the latest in 1997, and to make proposals, if appropriate, on these issues within the shortest possible delay thereafter.

If it appears that the strategy would not be effective enough, the Commission will study additional measures including the effectiveness of binding CO2-emission limit values, and, if appropriate, present relevant proposals to the Council.

6. The Council asks the Commission to begin without delay discussions with the automobile industry on an agreement for reducing the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold in the European Union.

Such an agreement should seek to commit the industry in the European Union as a whole, as well as importers, to make the major contribution to the achievement of the CO2-emission-value objectives set out in paragraph 2 above.

The Council requests the Commission to take into account in particular:

- the importance of an ambitious EU-wide commitment which corresponds to the objective mentioned above;

- the importance of intermediate targets which provide the basis for a monitoring of the agreement;

- agreements already existing at national level;

- the importance of contributions from each car manufacturer in reducing fuel consumption.

The Council invites the Commission to report to it on the progress of its discussions with the industry not later than the end of 1996. With a view to these discussions, the Commission is invited to draw on the advice of a group of experts from Member States.

To encourage a broader discussion in the Council on the conditions for agreements with the industry in the field of the environment, the Council invites the Commission to come forward as soon as possible with the communication on this subject announced in its work programme.

7. The Council stresses the importance of an EU­wide monitoring system on the development of the average CO2 emissions of new cars sold. Therefore, a transparent monitoring system should be established which would enable monitoring of the progress achieved, in particular, by the implementation of the agreement with industry. This monitoring system should function autonomously from the agreement with industry and be based on data provided by the competent authorities in the Member States. Monitoring should be done in cooperation with the automobile industry and importers, and provide for regular public reports on the progress made. The Council invites the Commission to present a proposal for a monitoring system not later than June 1997.

In the meantime, the Council recommends Member States to provide the Commission with the necessary data, according to Commission Directive 93/116/EC, allowing the Commission to start such a monitoring system in 1998.

The Council recommends the Commission to elaborate as soon as possible a proposal for extending Directive 88/1268/EEC, as amended by Commission Directive 93/116/EC, to vehicles running on other fuels which are not yet covered by existing Community legislation.

8. The Council agrees with the Commission that measures to influence consumer behaviour will be required to support and complement an agreement with industry. Considering that a CO2-emission consumer information system is an important and useful measure to influence consumer choice, the Council welcomes the Commission's intention to come forward with a proposal in this sense before the end of 1997.

9. The Council considers that an increase of the minimum excise duties on road fuels constitutes an important element in an efficient strategy aiming at the reduction of CO2 emissions in the transport sector. The Council invites the Commission to take account of this consideration in its proposal for a revision of Directive 92/82/EEC in 1996.

10. The Council recognizes that other fiscal measures can contribute to achieving cost­effective improvements in the fuel consumption characteristics of the vehicle fleet. The Council invites the Commission to continue the study it is currently carrying out of the different car taxation systems applied in the Member States, with a view to identifying the consequences of these systems on the reduction of the CO2 emissions and to report back to the Council before June 1997 at the latest.

Furthermore, the Council invites the Commission to study the possibility of establishing a reference framework for fiscal incentives in the context of the agreement with industry.

11. The Council invites the Commission to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the Community strategy for reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars. To this end, and also in the light of the Community's commitments in the context of the global strategy on climate change and the overall CO2-monitoring mechanism, the Council asks the Commission to report regularly, in particular on:

- the development of the reduction in average CO2 emissions of the new cars sold based on the monitoring system to be established;

- the progress made by the automobile industry in meeting its commitments under the agreement with industry;

- the measures taken at both Community and Member State level to improve vehicle fuel economy, including especially in the area of economic instruments;

- the impact of the strategy on the market;

- the impact of the strategy on Community objectives relating to air quality, including tropospheric ozone, and acidification, and other environmental aspects of transport;

- the coherence of the strategy with Community legislation, particularly on road safety;

- the technological development, inter alia, on the basis of the result of the task force "Car of tomorrow".

12. With a view to considering more ambitious CO2­emission objectives for passenger cars in the longer term, the Council invites the Commission to present it with a report, not later than 2000 on the basis of fuel­efficiency potentials generated by future technological progress and on their economic feasibility and, if appropriate, proposals for achieving such objectives."


The Council had a debate on the proposed review of the so­called fifth environmental action programme, approved in the beginning of 1993.

The Council endorsed the general strategy of the Commission's proposal, giving some orientations in view of future in­depth discussions.

The proposal for a review does not modify the approach but aims at focusing it on certain priority areas (i.a. integration of the environment policy into other Community policies, extension of instruments to assure sustainable development, more efficient Community legislation) and certain horizontal issues meant to accelerate the implementation of the programme (i.a. improved statistical information, sensibilization of industry and consumers, promotion of local and regional initiatives).


"1. The Council welcomes the positive role played by the European Community and the Member States in the Berlin Mandate Process up until AGBM­3.

It notes with concern that the Berlin Mandate Process is not advancing as needed to achieve its intended objective. It reiterates its willingness to continue to participate in a constructive and concrete process to finalize a successful protocol at COP­3.

2. In this regard, the Council maintains that, in order to strengthen and enlarge the Convention commitments, a protocol or another legal instrument should be set up in a combined approach, including commitments for Annex I Parties regarding:

- policies and measures, as well as

- quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives within specified time­frames.

These elements are interdependent.

Furthermore, in the context of a protocol, the Council reaffirms the need to continue to advance the implementation of existing commitments in Article 4.1, by all Parties, in order to achieve sustainable development.

In this context the Council recalls the Community proposal on a protocol structure submitted to AGBM; and reaffirms its strong preference for a protocol.

The Council urges COP-2 to support the Community's proposal and welcomes constructive contributions from all Parties.

3. The Council recognizes that the IPCC Second Assessment Report represents the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment in the science of climate change.

The Council notes again with concern that the IPCC S.A.R. concludes that the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.

The Council stresses that these findings underline the need for urgent action at the widest possible level.

The Council reaffirms its belief that this report constitutes a key input in the process of defining and agreeing internationally the appropriate next steps towards achieving the ultimate objective of the FCCC. It urges COP-2 to endorse the IPCC S.A.R. findings.

4. Furthermore, the Council underlines that the IPCC S.A.R. is the principal reference document for global emission reduction objectives, for the technical potential and for cost­effectiveness of the measures which have to be selected within the defined portfolio of options. It also recalls in this context the valuable contribution offered by the ongoing work on possible common action on policies and measures in the framework of Annex I expert group, OECD/IEA.

5. The Council recognizes that, according to the IPCC S.A.R., stabilization of atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at twice the pre­industrial level, i.e. 550 ppm, will eventually require global emissions to be less than 50% of current levels of emissions; such a concentration level is likely to lead to an increase of the global average temperature of around 2°C above the pre­industrial level.

6. Given the serious risk of such an increase and particularly the very high rate of change, the Council believes that global average temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial level and that therefore concentration levels lower than 550 ppm CO2 should guide global limitation and reduction efforts. This means that the concentrations of all greenhouse gases should also be stabilized. This is likely to require a reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2 in particular CH4 and NO2. The Council looks forward to the results of the further technical paper, including social and economic considerations, on this issue which is due to be completed by the IPCC, at the request of SBSTA, by the end of 1996.

In this context the Council believes that the precautionary principle has to be applied, and the ad hoc Group is requested to explore possibilities to stimulate early action along the lines of proposals and suggestions made in the context of the protocol negotiations.

Furthermore, the Council notes that the IPCC considers that significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are technically possible, and can be economically feasible. It also notes that significant "no-regrets" opportunities are available; and that there is a rationale, on the basis of potential risk, for action beyond no-regrets at Annex I Parties level.

7. The Council believes that global efforts require global responses and full participation of all Parties. This has to be based on a closer partnership between developed and developing countries: beside the strengthened commitments of developed countries it is important that the developing countries play their part in producing and using more energy­efficient and lower carbon-emitting technologies and products. In this perspective, information provided in national communications are an essential first step to involving further all Parties in the global climate change mitigation efforts.

In the light of the Berlin Mandate a major challenge is therefore to maximize the cooperative effort between all Parties, the three main elements of such an effort being:

- opportunities to promote and cooperate in the development, applications, diffusion, including transfer, of technologies, practices and processes;

- opportunities offered by the development of activities implemented jointly;

- opportunities to make programmes and investments from multilateral development banks and the private sector consistent with the objectives of the FCCC, and the implementation of Article 4(1) in particular.

8. Against this background, the Council believes it is essential that each of the Annex I Parties - it being understood that the Community is treated as one Party - agrees to set quantified objectives for significant overall reductions of greenhouse gas emissions after the year 2000 below 1990 levels, within specified timeframes, not simply to limit the growth of total emissions.

9. Recognizing that we are now half­way through the Berlin Mandate process, the Council urges all Parties to renew their efforts in this regard. The Community and the Member States stand ready to engage in constructive negotiations with other Parties at COP­2 and beyond, to identify credible reduction objectives and to consider how such objectives can meet the equity requirements of the Berlin Mandate.

10. The Council stresses the constructive work done by the ad hoc Group in developing proposals covering at present policies and measures on renewable energies, product energy­efficiency standards, transportation and economic instruments. These proposals have been forwarded to AGBM­3, and the Council looks forward to the other proposals to be presented to AGBM­4.

11. The Council notes that, on the basis of the latest reports by Member States, the Community is on course to return its CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, but at the same time recognizes that further efforts will be necessary to achieve the stabilization objective.

12. The Council notes that, on the basis of the work already done by the Ad hoc Group on Climate, it is feasible for the Community as a whole to reach a reduction of CO2 emissions by 2010 compared to 1990 levels, through the implementation of policies and measures identified by Member States and the Commission, at national and at Community level. Further work is required for the assessment of potential reductions in the years 2005 and 2020.

13. The Council confirms that equitable sharing of any emission reduction objective by the Community as a whole, i.e. the burden differentiation among Community Member States, is a fundamental element of the Community climate change strategy and that it should start with common and coordinated policies and measures, as appropriate. In further elaborating this issue, the ad hoc Group is requested to assess the limitation/reduction potential and the cost of policies and measures at Community level, in addition to those taken or envisaged at national level, as an approach to the equitable sharing of the burden.

14. In this regard, the Council requests Member States and the Commission, in the framework of the ad hoc Group on Climate, further to develop the work started on quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs) by:

- identifying the most relevant measures at national and Community level;

- estimating for each Member State and the Community the achievable emission limitation/reduction and, to the extent possible, the potential cost for each policy and measure using comparable methodologies, including no­regret potential at national and Community level;

- identifying which measures have to be taken at national and Community level.

15. In order to monitor the effects of policies and measures by the year 2000 and beyond this time horizon, the Council:

- invites the Commission, assisted by the Committee established under Council Decision 93/389, to evaluate the use of general and sectoral indicators of energy and CO2 intensity, and to provide a comprehensive overview of different sectoral indicators on GHG emissions available for these purposes;

- urges the Commission to submit, as soon as possible, proposals to amend the abovementioned Decision in order to include the obligation to report to the Monitoring Mechanism data beyond 2000.

16. Furthermore, in order to achieve full consistency of policies within the Community, the Council requests the Commission, as well as Member States, to ensure proper coordination between work in the ad hoc Group on Climate and other relevant work, in particular regarding energy, industry, transport, economic instruments and agriculture.

17. The Council requests the ad hoc Group to report about the work done to the October Environment Council meeting, in order to be able to adopt in December 1996 conclusions giving substantive guidance for the Protocol negotiations.

18. The Council stresses the importance of the forthcoming second Conference of the Parties which should focus the Berlin Mandate process on concrete negotiations of a protocol to ensure a successful conclusion of that process at COP­3. In this context, the Council also stresses the need for close cooperation with other Parties to the Convention."


The Council held a general exchange of views on the Commission communication on trade and the environment.

That communication, which the Commission submitted on 1 March 1996, is designed to serve as a basis for defining the European Community's position on the topic of trade and environment, especially at the first Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to be held in Singapore in December 1996.


- Preparation of the third Conference of the Parties

The Council President gave an account of the preparations in progress with a view to this Conference which will be held in Buenos Aires in November 1996. The Council will discuss this issue in greater detail at its meeting in October.

- Protocol on biosafety

The Council adopted conclusions complementing the negotiation mandate already given to the Commission with regard to such a Protocol in October 1995. Since then, the Second Conference of the Parties took a decision (decision II/5) defining the terms of reference for the beginning of the negotiating process. Taking into account these elements, the new mandate updates and complements the negotiating directives of October 1995, as regards i.a. the keypoints relevant to the development of the protocol, its scope and definitions, risk assessment and risk management, informed agreement procedures and exchange of information, relationship to international agreements and procedural aspects.


The Council held an orientation debate on the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 90/219/EEC on the contained use of genetically modified micro­organisms (GMOs).

Taking into account the experience and scientific knowledge gained over the last few years (Directive 90/219/EEC is based on scientific knowledge from the early 1980s), the Commission proposal:

- updates the scope of Directive 90/219/EEC;

- provides for a simplified procedure for further technical amendments;

- modifies the risk­categorization of the contained­use activities;

- adapts the administrative procedures and modification requirements to the actual risk­level of activities;

- further specifies the containment and control measures to be applied.

The Council debate focused on the objectives of the amending Directive, the amendments of the scope of the Directive, the basis for risk categorisation, and the streamlining of administrative procedures. The detailed examination of the proposal will begin under the Irish Presidency.


The Council discussed the Commission's proposal on the marketing of genetically modified maize (Zea mays L.). A large number of delegations stated that they could not support this proposal and would like the Commission to withdraw it; one delegation was in favour and another one abstained. The Presidency concluded therefore that the Council was not in a position to act. The Commissioner announced that, given this situation, she would report to her Institution which would then decide on the appropriate course of action.

It is recalled that the proposal had been submitted to the Council in accordance with the so­called comitology rules, the Commission having failed to obtain the necessary qualified majority in support of the measure in the relevant committee. In this case, the rules stipulate that if the Council does not, within three months (i.e. before 31 August 1996), approve the proposal by qualified majority (or amend it unanimously) the Commission shall adopt the measures it proposed.



"The Council recalls the importance which it attaches to establishing of a coherent and efficient water policy which can fact the challenges the Community is actually confronted with.

It therefore recalls its conclusions, in particular those adopted on 18 December 1995, outlining the principles, the objectives and the specific issues which it considers the new approach for such a water should follow.

In this context the Council welcomes the Commission communication on this subject, sent both to it and to the European Parliament, and takes note of the guidelines for a Water Resources Framework Directive. The Council considers this communication to constitute one useful basis to develop a new Community water policy.

The Council urges the Commission to come forward as soon as possible, and at the latest by the end of the year, with a proposal for a Water Resources Framework Directive taking due account of the recommendations it formulated in its successive conclusions adopted so far."


The Council heard a report by the Commission on the progress of the contacts made with Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation and any other non­member countries concerned with a view to the opening of negotiations on a framework agreement on humane trapping standards, for which the Council had just adopted Directives (see the Recommendation adopted as an "A" item by this Council meeting).


Pending the delivery of the European Parliament's Opinion, the Council developed a position on the proposal for a Recommendation relating to the keeping of wild animals in zoos.

By zoos the Recommendation means permanent establishments where live animals of species not domesticated in the European Community are kept for exhibition.

This Recommendation includes extremely detailed guidelines regarding, inter alia, the care of animals, safety, species in danger of extinction and the educational aspects, in order to enable zoo operators to achieve certain objectives corresponding to the functions of such establishments.

Under the Recommendation the Member States should adopt measures governing the grant of authorizations to operate and the inspection of zoos, with the aim, inter alia, of guaranteeing that all zoological gardens

- maintain their animals under conditions providing for their physical and psychological welfare;

- maintain a high standard of animal husbandry;

- ensure that there is sufficient and adequately trained staff responsible for the care of the animals;

- provide access for designated inspectors to the premises, equipment, animals and records of the zoo at all times;

- promote the conservation of wild fauna through research and the education of the public and, where appropriate, captive breeding.


The Council reached agreement on the decision concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the Community, of the Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context (ESPOO Convention).


The Council adopted a decision on the participation of the European Community in negotiations aimed at drawing up an agreement on the conservation of cetaceans of the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

This agreement will complement the existing one regarding the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas.


Within the framework of the "structured dialogue" that forms part of the preparation for accession, two meetings were held, on the eve of the Council meeting, with the Malta and Cyprus Ministers for the Environment.

Those meetings brought together Mr Ronchi for the Presidency and Mr Zammit Dimech, the Malta Minister for the Environment, at the first meeting, and Mr Petrides, the Cyprus Minister for the Environment, at the second meeting. Mrs Bjerregaard, a member of the European Commission, attended both meetings.

In its introduction the Presidency stressed the political aspects (the role of the structured dialogue, the balance between the dialogue with the CCEE and that with the Mediterranean countries, the follow­up to the Euro­Mediterranean Conference). The Commission spoke on the legislative and technical aspects and the actions already carried out (in the financial field in particular) under EC­Cyprus and EC­Malta cooperation.

Cyprus and Malta both stressed the importance that both countries attached to such meetings; both delegations made very detailed statements concerning their legislative and practical achievements and their expectations with respect to the Community.


(Adopted without discussion. In the case of legislative acts, votes against and abstentions are indicated. Decisions including statements to which the Council has decided to grant the public access are indicated by asterisks; the statements in question may be obtained from the Press Office.)


Framework agreement on humane trapping standards

The Council decided to authorize the Commission to negotiate on the European Community's behalf with Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation and any other non-member country concerned a framework agreement on humane trapping standards.

The purpose of the framework agreement contemplated would be to define humane trapping standards for traps intended for the killing or catching of wild mammals, in particular the species specified in Regulation (EEC) No 3254/91, in order to avoid a ban on imports after 31 December 1996.

Assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment

Following the agreement of principle reached at its meeting on 18 December 1995 the Council adopted, by a qualified majority, the German delegation voting against, a common position on the proposal for the amendment of Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.

That Directive is regarded as one of the main Community instruments of the prevention of environmental damage at source.

The amendments contemplated are the fruit of the experience gained in implementing the Directive and also take account of the undertakings given in connection with the Convention on environmental impact assessment in a transboundary context, which the Community and the Member States signed in Espoo on 25 February 1991.

In practice the common position is intended to clarify and extend the scope of the Directive as regards, in particular,

- the types of project for which impact assessment is mandatory and

- the types of project for which assessments are not automatically mandatory but which are the subject of case­by­case decisions by the Member State concerned (Annex II to the Directive), for which the Directive lays down criteria to be taken into account for the purposes of such decisions.

It is also intended to render more precise and enhance the information that must be provided by the developer and to increase the cooperation between the Member States concerned through projects with transboundary effects, on the basis of the provisions of the Espoo Convention in particular.

The new provisions should enter into force on 31 December 1997.

Dangerous substances - Eighth amendment of Directive 67/548/EEC

The Council adopted the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 67/548/EEC for the eighth time as the European Parliament had made no amendments to the common position. The Directive deals with the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.

The amendment in question is in the context of the consolidation in progress of the aforementioned basic Directive. It simply replaces the "EEC" mark to be found in certain places in the enacting terms of that Directive with "EC" in order to adapt it to Article G of the Treaty on European Union. It also grants a transitional period to economic operators to allow them to adapt the labelling of dangerous substances bearing those marks.

Landfill of waste

The Council, aware of the fact that the European Parliament rejected its common position at its sitting on 22 May 1996, noted that it did not have the majority required for it to act in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaty (the co­decision procedure).

It therefore invited the Commission to submit to it as soon as possible a proposal containing suitable provisions for effectively meeting the requirements of Directive 75/442/EEC on waste and to take account of the work already carried out.

It should be recalled that the aim of the Directive on the landfill of waste was to provide for measures, procedures and guidance to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects on the environment, in particular the pollution of surface water, groundwater, soil and air, as well as the resulting risks to human health, from landfilling of waste.

Flavourings intended for use in foodstuffs*

The Council agreed to accept the European Parliament's amendments to its common position of 23 November 1995. Accordingly it adopted, by a qualified majority, the French delegation abstaining, a Regulation laying down a Community procedure for flavourings intended for use in foodstuffs.

The main provisions of the Regulation are as follows:

Initially, the Member States will send the Commission national lists of flavouring substances which, in accordance with the basic Directive (88/388/EEC), may be used within their territories. The Commission will then have a year to draw up a register of the substances of which it has been notified, which will receive mutual recognition.

Within ten months of the adoption of the register a programme for the evaluation of the substances listed in it will be adopted. The Commission, which will be assisted by the Standing Committee on Foodstuffs, will then have five years to draw up, on the basis of the scientific evaluations, a "positive list" of the flavourings used at Community level. Substances which present no risk to the health of the consumer and the use of which does not mislead him may be authorized.

Until the adoption of the Community list, i.e. during the mutual­recognition period, a Member State may have recourse to a safeguard clause if it believes that a flavouring substance may constitute a danger to public health.

Sweeteners for use in foodstuffs

Further to the agreement reached at its meeting on 28 May 1996 the Council formally adopted, by a qualified majority, a common position on the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 94/35/EC on sweeteners for use in foodstuffs. The German and Swedish delegations voted against the common position. The text will be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading under the co­decision procedure.

This proposal for a Directive is intended to adapt the present rules on sweeteners to technical progress.

Food additives

The Council adopted, by a qualified majority, the French delegation abstaining, a common position on the proposal for a Directive amending Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners. The Danish delegation provided an explanation of its vote (see Annex).

The purpose of the Directive is to authorize the use as a food additive of "Processed Eucheuma seaweed" and allocate it the number E 407a.

ECSC assents

The Council gave its assent to the grant of a loan to TRANSGAS - Sociedade Portuguesa de Gàs Natural S.A., Lisboa, for the joint financing of an investment project which promotes the sale of Community steel.

Negotiation of guidelines applicable to export credits for agricultural products

The Council authorized the Commission to negotiate, within the OECD, guidelines applicable to export credits for agricultural and forestry products.

The OECD Arrangement on guidelines for officially supported export credits, concluded in 1978, does not, at this stage, cover agricultural products.

The purpose of the negotiations is therefore to obtain the inclusion in the OECD Arrangement of guidelines on export credits for agricultural and forest products.

Outcome of the WTO negotiations on financial services and on movement of natural persons

The Council adopted a Decision on the conclusion on behalf of the European Community, as regards matters within its competence, of the second and third protocols to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (concerning financial services and the movement of natural persons for the purpose of supplying services).

These are two areas in which agreement was not reached on the conclusion of the Uruguay Round, further negotiation on which was decided on in April 1995 on the signing of the Marrakesh Agreement.

It should be recalled that these protocols must be accepted in Geneva no later than 30 June 1996.



Additives to foodstuffs

Explanation of the Danish delegation's vote

"Adopting the common position on the proposed amendment of European Parliament and Council Directive 95/2/EC on food additives other than colours and sweeteners, Denmark recognizes the qualified majority in Council in support of including food additive E 407 (Processed Eucheuma seaweed) in Annex I to the abovementioned Directive.

Denmark, in accordance with the amendments proposed by the European Parliament, prefers a number other than E 407a in order to distinguish Processed Eucheuma seaweed from the already permitted E 407 (Carrageenan) to a greater extent than obtained by the number E 407a."