European Parliament issues strong environmental demands to candidate countries
The European Parliament has voted strongly in favour of demands for accession countries to rapidly comply with EU environmental laws, as well as calling for the early closure of three nuclear plants.
At the parliamentary session on 4 October, MEPs voted 462 in favour, and only 40 against the full implementation of low cost EU directives “at the latest by the day of accession” and the remaining high-cost directives, such as water and atmospheric pollution and waste treatment, no more than five years after EU entry.
The four directives that will have to be implemented by each country’s EU entry date are the Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Information, Animal Welfare legislation and Habitat and Birds Directives.
The resolution recalled that “nuclear power reactors of first generation Soviet design are considered as ‘high risk’ for Europe in general” and demanded that they be closed “at the latest by the time of accession”. Parliament told Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia that they will have to shut down three non-upgradeable reactors by the time of EU entry, and not, by agreed dates ranging from 2006 to 2009. Help from banks was called on to assist in the realisation of energy saving projects and the development of renewable energy sources in all candidate countries.
The resolution also requests a doubling of EU aid for environmental purposes by 2006, more money for small, innovative environmental projects, and that candidate countries should identify sites to join the Natura 2000 network of valuable habitats, and not reduce the area of protected areas before EU membership.
The EU candidate countries are; Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
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