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Commission praised for excellent analytical work

In meeting the challenges of enlargement presented by the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) in air, waste, industrial pollution control and risk management and nuclear safety, the European Commission has carried out excellent analytical work and meticul...
In meeting the challenges of enlargement presented by the candidate countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) in air, waste, industrial pollution control and risk management and nuclear safety, the European Commission has carried out excellent analytical work and meticulous preparation, according to the Economic and Social Committee (ESC).

In May 1998 the Commission turned to the ESC for its opinion on the Communication on accession strategies for environment.

The Communication seeks to define the main environmental challenges of the CEECs' accession to the EU and to develop a possible strategy for meeting these challenges.

It identifies two main horizontal challenges - legislative and institutional aspects - and five of a sectoral nature - air, waste, industrial pollution control and risk management and nuclear safety. Lastly, it highlights the considerable investment required for any such changes.

The ESC approves the country-specific approach for compliance with the Community acquis as proposed by the European Commission. It is, according to the Committee, based on excellent analytical work and meticulous preparation by the Commission.

Such separate pre-accession strategies should make it possible to define the priorities for each country in line with its particular situation, thus ensuring that resources and technical preparation are adequate.

In the interest of greater efficiency, the ESC considers that new productive investment in the applicant countries should comply with the existing environmental acquis even if this is not yet mandatory in those countries. This should take the form of a non-binding recommendation.

The ESC considers that this application of the environmental acquis can also be a source of wealth and job creation in the candidate countries, provided that local industry can be mobilised and used wherever possible to produce and install the necessary plant. For this reason the ESC calls on the European Commission to carry out a specific study taking stock, for each applicant country, of their technological facilities, plant manufacturing capacity and the level of training of the engineers and workers who are to carry out these tasks.

Finally, the ESC points out the need to reinforce regional preparatory measures between the applicant countries in areas such as river network management, control of transborder air pollution, risk management and industrial concentrations near to borders, training and awareness-raising plans for entrepreneurs, workers and the general public.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities
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