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PHARE support to the environmental approximation process in the CEECs

The Associated Countries' goal of early accession to the European Union has major repercussions in the environmental sector. It effectively has led these countries to begin a fundamental review of all their environmental legislation, policies, economic instruments and financia...
The Associated Countries' goal of early accession to the European Union has major repercussions in the environmental sector. It effectively has led these countries to begin a fundamental review of all their environmental legislation, policies, economic instruments and financial support mechanisms to ensure that, through a process of approximation in each of these areas, they are compatible with those of the EU Member States.

The process of approximation in the environmental sector is complicated by the limited coverage of the sector in the "White paper on approximation" and by the fact that EU environmental legislation is itself rapidly developing. The resources needed to carry out this approximation are very substantial and, as a result, the Associated Countries have requested further financial support from the EU in this area.

In response to this challenge, the European Commission has adopted a number of initiatives aimed at supporting the Associated Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) in the environmental approximation process. These include:

- The creation of the PHARE Environmental Approximation Facility which offers assistance to the Associated Countries in developing detailed implementation strategies, financing approaches and compliance schedules for environmental approximation;

- The initiation of a new "Environment Pre-accession Strategy" for the EU PHARE programme. This will be used to guide the approximately ECU 100 million per year of environmental assistance allocated under the PHARE national programmes;

- Opening of the LIFE programme (Community financial instrument for the environment) to the Associated Countries. This will provide cofinancing for technical and infrastructural projects with partners in the Associated Countries.

The new PHARE Environmental Approximation Facility, which will make available ECU 10 million for the financing of actions in this area, is now operational. A technical unit is currently being set up in Brussels to assist in the preparation and implementation of the Facility and Ministries of the Environment in Associated Countries should be preparing their requests for assistance.

A first informal coordination meeting for the Facility will be held before the end of the year in Brussels. This meeting will not only provide more detailed information on the Facility, but will also allow countries to finalize their draft 'Terms of Reference' for projects and to share their experiences on environmental approximation issues to date.
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Related information

Programmes

Countries (10)

  • Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia
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