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The Environment Council brings together the ministers for the environment about four times a year.

With regard to the environment, the European Union has set itself the task of fostering the harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities (industry, transport, energy, etc.) while taking into account the need to respect the environment. Promoting sustainable development has been a specific, fully-fledged aim of the European Union since 1999.

The Environment Council addresses a number of issues including:

  • the conservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment;
  • the impact of the environment on public health;
  • the prudent and rational use of natural resources;
  • the international promotion of measures to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems.

The policies and measures put forward by the Environment Council are based on strict environmental guidelines such as the precautionary principle, the principle that preventive action should be taken and that the polluter should pay. In its deliberations, the Environment Council has to make provisions for the vast differences between the various regions of the European Union and the fact that Member States retain prerogatives in environmental issues.

A concrete example of the European Union's efforts in the area of the environment is the 6th Environment Action Programme which was adopted in 2002, thanks to the work of the Environment Council. The programme sets out defines four priority action areas up to 2010 which are central to the concerns of the citizens and public authorities in the Member States:

  • climate change;
  • nature and biodiversity;
  • environment and health;
  • natural resource and waste management.

The Environment Council acts by qualified majority in co-decision with the European Parliament.


Documents "Environment"

  • Updated: 19.06.2008
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