EU publishes environmental accession guide

European Commission handbook advises policy makers on implementing green laws

The European Commission has issued a practical handbook for policy makers in central and eastern European countries advising them how to implement EU environmental laws as they prepare to join the bloc.

The handbook is the latest element in the Commission's carrot-and-stick approach in persuading accession countries to tighten their environmental practices: practical help and modest financial aid on the one hand coupled with regular annual reports outlining shortcomings in legal implementation on the other. The next annual report is expected imminently.

The handbook covers environmental legislation up to July 1999 over ten sectors, including chemicals, noise and air quality. It contains checklists for each EU law recommending which actions should be taken at what time and by what government department. Examples are given of previous implementation strategies used by four current EU members: France, Sweden, Portugal and the UK.

* Meanwhile, the management committee of the EU's Ispa funding programme for accession countries this week approved a further tranche of aid for projects which will help comply with EU environment laws. Twenty seven projects will receive around euros 370m, mainly for improvements to water and waste management infrastructure. A final tranche will be approved next month, bringing the total aid to euros 500m for 2000.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111, DG Environment enlargement unit and the handbook; European Commission ISPA projects press release.

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