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Council's Committee of Representatives considers environmental matters

The Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives is a body of national officials representing the Ministers of the Member States. The Representatives undertake analysis and further discussion on matters referred to them by the Council, to support Ministers in their work wi...
The Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives is a body of national officials representing the Ministers of the Member States. The Representatives undertake analysis and further discussion on matters referred to them by the Council, to support Ministers in their work within Council meetings.

In the field of the environment, the Committee of Representatives has been charged by the Ministers of the Member States (Council meeting of 5.10.1993) to examine a number of technology-related matters in preparation for the December 1993 Council meeting of Environment Ministers. Work comprises the detailed examination of proposals and the establishment or clarification of positions, following Ministerial guidelines, on topics including:

- A Commission proposal for a Council Directive on the landfill of waste (COM(93) 275), harmonizing environmental and technical standards:
- A proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste (published in OJ No C 271 of 7.10.1993) with provision for the drawing up of a Community list of hazardous waste substances;
- A proposal for a Council Directive on the harmonization of Member State regulations for the phased elimination of polychlorobiphenols (PCBs) and polychlorotriphenols (PCTs) and on the disposal of equipment which contain these substances (in particular used in electrical transformers and condensers);
- A proposal for a Council Directive concerning the marketing of non-agricultural biocides (COM(93) 351) including provisions for the establishment at Community level of a list of the active substances permitted in biocidal products, and a system for the mutual exchange of information between Member States, plus a ten-year programme of work for the systematic examination of active biocidal substances;
- A proposal for a framework Directive on the prevention and reduction of pollution from industrial installations with high environmental impact.

During the October meeting, the Environment Ministers debated the Commission's proposal for the implementation, at Community level, of controls agreed by the Parties signatory to the Montreal Protocol (Copenhagen Amendment) concerning in particular the reduction in the use of HCFCs and HBFCs (COM(93) 102 of 16.3.1993). The discussion centred on the Commission's proposal to introduce more stringent controls than those set out in the Protocol. Work now continues along the main orientations established during the debate, and will take account of the European Parliament's opinion on the proposal, which is expected shortly.

An exchange of views also took place on the Community's strategy on climatic change. Three lines of action have previously been implemented. These are: The establishment of a mechanism for the surveillance of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses (Decision 93/389/EEC 0f 24.6.1993); the SAVE programme for the limitation of CO2 emissions and increased energy efficiency (Directive 93/76/EEC of 13.6.1993); and the ALTENER programme for the promotion of renewable energy resources (COM(92) 180 of 20.5.1992). A fourth policy line, tax on CO2 emission and energy use, is still under consideration (at the 23 April 1993 Council meeting of Environment and Energy Ministers the Council considered that such a tax should be rapidly put into place at Community level).

Following this exchange of views, the Council confirmed its intention to proceed towards the joint ratification, by the Community and the Member States, of the Convention on Climatic Change (Rio Convention) signed on 14.6.1992 (COM(92) 508 of 15.12.1992). In this context the Permanent Representatives, with the aid of the Commission, are now examining in detail the consequences of the proposed energy tax, and possible routes towards an agreement on the measure (it is understood that the position of Great Britain is most divergent from that of the general consensus).

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