Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Resolution (ECSC, EEC, Euratom) on the continuation and implementation of a European Community policy and action programme on the environment, 1987-1992

Previous programme


Successor programme


Official Journal Reference

C 328 of 1987-12-07

Legislative Reference

87/C328/01 of 1987-10-19
To preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, to contribute towards protecting human health, and to ensure a prudent and rational utilization of natural resources.


The principles and objectives of the first Community action programme on the environment, and a general description of the projects to be undertaken at Community level, were adopted on 22 November 1973 by the Council of the European Communities and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council (Official Journal No C 112 of 20.12.1973). This programme was updated on 17 May 1977 (Official Journal No C 139 of 13.6.1977) in order to ensure the continuity of the projects already undertaken and to undertake new tasks for the period 1977 to 1981.

Initially the essential aim of Community environment policy was the control of pollution and of nuisances. Later, awareness concentrated on prevention. This led to the approach of the third action programme (1982- 1986), which aimed at preventing environmental problems through the integration of environmental requirements into the planning and execution of actions in many economic and social sectors, with stress being placed on prior environmental impact assessment as a crucial tool for ensuring such integration.

Two important conclusions of the European Council provided the agenda and terms of reference for the Community's fourth environmental action programme. The first of these was the decision to propose the inclusion of a new chapter on the environment in the amended Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (EEC). The second was the recognition by the European Council, in March 1985, that the environmental protection policy can contribute to improved economic growth and job creation and that it should be made an essential component of the economic, industrial, agricultural and social policies implemented at Community and national level. In this connection, 1987 was designated as the European Year of the Environment (EYE).


Priority areas:

- Pollution prevention:
. Reduction at source of pollution and nuisance;
. Control of chemical substances and preparations;
. Prevention of industrial accidents;
. Combating noise pollution at source;
. Measures concerning the evaluation and best use of biotechnology with regard to the environment;
. Effective action to protect the health of the population and the environment from harm through nuclear radiation;

- Improvement in management of resources:
. Measures to protect and enhance Europe's natural heritage;
. Measures relating to natural or man-made hazards or disasters affecting public health and the environment;
. Encouragement of agricultural practices which are environmentally beneficial;
. Protection of the soil;
. Improving water resources and the management of water;
. Development of improved waste management in relation to reduction of quantities, treatment, recycling and re-use;
. Overall and integrated environmental protection of the Mediterranean region;

- International activities:
. Support and, where appropriate, active participation by the Community and the Member States in the activities of international organizations concerned with environmental protection within the framework of their respective powers;
. Cooperation with developing countries on environmental matters and on the protection of natural resources, having particular regard to questions of desertification and water supply, tropical forests and the production and use of dangerous substances or products and technological cooperation;

- Development of appropriate instruments:
. Improving the scientific bases of environment policy, inter alia, through appropriate research programmes;
. Effective implementation of Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 (Official Journal No L 175 of 5.7.1985) on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment and the integration of the environmental dimension in other Community policies;
. Implementation of appropriate standards in order to ensure a high level of public health and environmental protection;
. Development of efficient economic instruments such as taxes, levies, State aid, authorization of negotiable rebates with a view to implementing the principle that the polluter pays;
. Encouraging the development, dissemination and distribution of clean technology, notably in the case of heavily polluting industries;
. Improved access to information on the environment;
. Increased effort to promote environmental education and training at appropriate levels, and greater public awareness.


The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the action programme, working closely with industry, trade unions and interested non-governmental organizations.
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