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Economic and Social Committee evaluation of the Fifth Community Action Programme on the Environment

On 26 October l995, the Economic and Social Committee unanimously adopted an opinion on "Sustainable development in tune with the environment - an interim evaluation of the Fifth Community Action Programme on the Environment".

The Fifth Action Programme was adopted by the Cou...
On 26 October l995, the Economic and Social Committee unanimously adopted an opinion on "Sustainable development in tune with the environment - an interim evaluation of the Fifth Community Action Programme on the Environment".

The Fifth Action Programme was adopted by the Council of Ministers in February l993 as an environment policy "Magna Carta". The plan was to review and update it in l995.

The ESC, within whose forum many of the players mentioned in the programme are represented, expressed its regret at the failure of the programme to make an adequate linkage between environmental and economic requirements. It also regretted the lack of environmental indicators for "a sustainable and environmentally-sound development".

In addition, the ESC feels that insufficient account has been taken of the role of citizens as environmental policy players and requests that steps be taken to involve workers in implementing environmental policy.

On the above issues the ESC makes a number of strategy recommendations. In particular, in connection with the review of the Fifth Action Programme, it is in favour of clarifying the subsidiarity principle while not precluding the introduction of European environmental protection standards.

The ESC is in favour of an environmental policy which enlists economic instruments. It is, however, opposed to the wholesale deregulation advocated in the MOLITOR report on the grounds that it is impossible to dispense with basic public regulation or public authority control if citizens' rights to a high-quality environment are to be safeguarded on a lasting basis.

Looking ahead to the l996 Inter-Governmental Conference, the ESC wishes the co-determination procedure to be extended to all areas of environmental policy. It stresses that the environment must be an integral component of European development policy and that Europe's role in this sphere must continue to serve as model for non-Community countries.
DE

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