Sweden and Latvia co-operate on EU environmental alignment

The European Commission is investing Euro 350,000 on a Swedish-Latvian joint project to adapt Latvian environmental administration and legislation in preparation for a future EU membership. The Swedish EPA and Latvian Ministry of the Environment will carry out the project in a partnership.

This is the first Swedish project to be financed by the EU Phare fund in accordance with the new twinning programme. This involves direct co-operation between the authorities in a membership country and a candidate country. The money is earmarked for one year’s work.

A Swedish expert will be based at the Ministry of the Environment and Regional Development in Riga. In addition, a number of Swedish EPA staff are involved in the project. New framework legislation, along the lines of the Swedish legislation, will be developed.

The new law will replace antiquated Soviet legislation and will cover all types of pollution, including regulations for contaminated land areas. The law will be linked to the IPPC directive and some other EU directives. Lawyers and officials at the Ministry of the Environment will also be trained in environmental law and tailor-made courses for environmental inspectors and regional environmental authorities in Latvia will be designed.

The co-operation also covers the planned EU framework directive for water resources. This directive involves substantial changes in both Sweden and Latvia, as projects involving water and a water quality will follow catchment areas rather than administrative and political frontiers.

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