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Environment Council and Joint EC/CEEC Ministerial Meeting on the Environment: 4 March 1996

The Council of Environment Ministers of the European Union met, in Brussels, on 4 March 1996. The Environment Council was followed by a Joint Ministerial Meeting with environment ministers from Central and East European countries (CEECs) which addressed questions relating to t...

The Council of Environment Ministers of the European Union met, in Brussels, on 4 March 1996. The Environment Council was followed by a Joint Ministerial Meeting with environment ministers from Central and East European countries (CEECs) which addressed questions relating to the approximation of environmental legislation. The Environment Council adopted a common position on the proposed Regulation on shipments of dangerous waste and on a technical amendment to the proposed Directive on the labelling of dangerous substances. Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard presented the proposal for a review of the Fifth European Environmental Action Programme, and the Commission communications on EU water policy and on trade and environment. The Council was also informed about the situation following the accident of the oil tanker "Sea Empress" on the coast of Wales. The importance and urgency of the issue of preserving and restoring wetlands in the EU was recognized in the debate by the Council, and Commissioner Bjerregaard emphasized the importance of the Habitats Directive in this regard. The overall strategy set out by the Commission on fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions from cars was welcomed by the Council, whilst the discussion on emissions from mobile non-road machines (bulldozers etc.) centred on the scope of the proposed Directive and on the need to take into account US standards in this area. The Council emphasized the need to speed up negotiations on a framework agreement on the use of humane trapping methods and emphasized the need to conclude these negotiations before the end of the year. Other subjects which were covered in the Environment Council included: - Forthcoming negotiations in the Committee on Sustainable Development; - The Community strategy for the protection of the ozone layer; - Negotiating mandate for Barcelona convention, and amendment of PARCOM decisions on hexachloroethane; - The proposal for a Directive on biocides; - The proposal for a Recommendation on animals in zoos; - The Joint Environment Projects; - Environmental aspects of the Intergovernmental Conference; - Biotechnology.

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