European Commission logo
español español
CORDIS - Resultados de investigaciones de la UE

Programme Category

Contenido archivado el 2023-03-27

Article available in the following languages:


Programme of action (ECSC, Euratom, EEC) on the environment, 1973-1976

Meeting at the Paris Summit Conference (19 and 20 October 1972), the Heads of State or Government of the Member States emphasized the importance of a Community environmental policy in the context of taking actions to improve the standard of living conditions and the quality of life. In response, the first programme of action on the environment, now known as the "1973 action programme", was set out in the Declaration of the Council of the European Communities and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States Meeting in the Council of 22 November 1973 (Official Journal No C 112 of 20.12.1973).

The aim of a Community policy on the environment was "to improve the setting and quality of life and the surroundings and living conditions of the peoples of the Community. It must help to bring expansion into the service of man by procuring for him an environment providing the best conditions of life and reconcile this expansion with the increasingly imperative need to preserve the natural environment". The action programme recognizes that the protection of the natural environment and the improvement of living conditions requires actions of varying kinds involving measures to reduce pollution and nuisances as well as ensuring that the improvement of living conditions and ecological factors become integrated in the process of devising and implementing common policies. Hence actions undertaken within the programme were carried out in cooperation with international organizations and with third countries in order to avoid unnecessary duplication while ensuring that the specific interests of the Community were taken into consideration by these organizations.

It was considered that available knowledge for the implementation of the progamme would prove, in many cases, to be inadequate and an effort needed to be made to extend and supplement it by means of research and development. Some of these projects could be carried out at Community level to ensure effective cooperation between the various laboratories and institutes concerned in the Member States and the Joint Research Centre. An initial set of Community research projects was adopted by the Council on 5 February, 14 May and 18 June 1973 under the Community's Multiannual Research and Training Programme which was divided into direct action (carried out at the Joint Research Centre) and indirect action. The Community also took part in three joint COST projects on safeguarding the environment.
To prevent, reduce and as far as possible eliminate pollution and nuisances; to maintain a satisfactory ecological balance and ensure the protection of the biosphere; to ensure the sound management, and avoid any exploitation, of resources or nature which cause significant damage to the ecological balance; to guide development in accordance with quality requirements; to ensure that more account is taken of environmental aspects in town planning and land use; and to seek common solutions to environmental problems with States outside the Community particularly in international organizations.
Priority areas:

- Measures to reduce pollution and nuisances:
. Objective evaluation of the risks to human health and to the environment from pollution;
. Setting of standards;
. Specific actions on environment pollution (exchange of information between the surveillance and monitoring networks; quality objectives);
. Measures relating to certain products;
. Action specific to certain industrial sectors and to energy production;
. Action specific to certain areas of common interest (marine pollution; protection of the waters of the Rhine basin against pollution; action for the protection of the environment in frontier zones);
. Action concerning wastes and residues (industrial and consumer wastes; particular case of the handling and storage of radioactive wastes);
. Action to ensure compliance with the limits established for the protection of the environment;
. Action to be taken on the economic aspects of anti-pollution measures;
. Research projects concerning protection of the environment;
. Dissemination of knowledge relating to environment protection;

- Action to improve the environment:
. Protection of the natural environment;
. Environment problems caused by the depletion of certain natural resources;
. Urban development and improvement of amenities;
. Improvement of the working environment;
. Creation of a European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions;
. Promotion of awareness of environment problems and education;

- Community action or joint action by the Member States in International Organizations.
The Commission was responsible for the implementation of the action programme and worked closely with industry, trade unions, international organizations (OECD, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, WHO) and interested non-governmental organizations. Timetables and requirements were set out for each respective action outlined within the programme.