POLLUTION STANDARDS FOR THE ENGINES OF NON-ROAD
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
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
- 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
- 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:
The maximum quantities for Stage II are as follows:
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
NOx cause acidification and ozone formation. Particulate emissions are harmful or mutagenic and therefore recognized as a serious health risk.
DIRECTIVE ON THE PLACING OF BIOCIDAL PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET
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 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.
A COMMUNITY STRATEGY TO REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS
AND IMPROVE FUEL ECONOMY - COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS
"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
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
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
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
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
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."
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - COMMUNITY POLICY AND ACTION PROGRAMME
The Council had a debate on the proposed review of the socalled
fifth environmental action programme, approved in the beginning
The Council endorsed the general strategy of the Commission's
proposal, giving some orientations in view of future indepth
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).
COMMUNITY STRATEGY ON CLIMATE CHANGE - COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS
"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
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
- 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
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
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."
TRADE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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.
CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
- Preparation of the third Conference of
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.
CONTAINED USE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED MICROORGANISMS
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
- updates the scope of Directive 90/219/EEC;
- provides for a simplified procedure for further
- modifies the riskcategorization of the containeduse
- 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.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED MAIZE
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.
COMMUNITY WATER POLICY
- COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS
"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
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
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).
THE KEEPING OF WILD ANIMALS IN ZOOS
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
CONSERVATION OF CETACEANS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
AND BLACK SEAS
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.
STRUCTURED DIALOGUE ON THE ENVIRONMENT WITH
MALTA AND CYPRUS
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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."