publication Eu Enlargement by KHsXIX5


									Minutes of the debate between Dutch Minister of Environment,
Jan Pronk, and CEE NGOs in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on
May 17th, 2000, organised by Milieukontakt Oost-Europa

(Welcoming words by Jeroen Kuiper, Milieukontakt Oost-Europa)

Vida Ogorolec Wagner, Umanotera, Slovenia
The enlargement process and transition periods

My presentation will focus on three general areas, first of all on the enlargement process
itself. As an NGO representative I’m equally interested in the process as I am in the product.
With the process, I mean the preparation of the negotiation position papers of the various
accession countries. Further I will focus on transition periods, and finally on broadening the

The process
Talking about the process, one issue is the lack of time. We have heard the opinion (of
Commissioner Verheugen) that quality and speed can be combined in the accession process. I
think in theory this is true. The practise however turns out to be different. When thinking
about the speed of preparing requests for transition periods by the first wave countries that
submitted these requests last year, I think that the process is of such a speed that it resulted in
a lack of background studies. Or, in the words from high officials in our ministry, a lot of the
requests were determined just by sticking a finger in the air.

The other aspect is the lack of stakeholder involvement in the enlargement process. We are
actually bypassing certain democratic institutions, such as local government, NGOs and also
experts have been largely excluded from the process of formulating positions on the
enlargement in the CEE countries. This results in some areas in a one-sided influence, notably
from industry. Especially in the Directives for IPPC and waste and wastepackaging we have a
very strong biased influence of the industries, which works against the interest of the

If we come back to the NGO involvement, I said that NGOs were not very active. First of all
we can see in no country really a well formulated NGO position on those transition requests.
We don’t see an NGO position for the region either. Many NGOs didn’t get involved in this
process at all, even though more NGOs are becoming interested in international matters, as a
result of this accession process. The main reason for the lack of NGO involvement is a lack of
capacity. We can really not compare the capacity of NGOs in accession countries with the
capacity of NGOs in the membercountries. Another reason may also be the issue of loyalty to
the government or to the country in the accession proces. We don’t want to be seen as
troublemakers, even if we are loyal to the environment more than to our government. We
support the accession process. I think that the value of independent NGO positions is probably
clear to you here in Holland but perhaps not so recognized by the Commission and also by the
candidate countries.
A very important problem in the process is lack of access to information. The Common
Position by the European Council is a confidential document. In response the additional
documentation that was submitted to the Commission by the candidate countries is also
classified as confidentional, which leaves the process closed for any stakeholder involvement.
I really urge for this to be changed; it’s against the Arhus Convention and against the
Copenhagen criteria for democracy.

The request for transition periods
Concerning transition periods, I think that earlier compliance would be possible if
environment was made a priority in the accession process. On the other hand I do think that
the working assumption for the first wave countries to join the EU at the end of 2002 in which
countries do promise a large chunk of the Aquis to be fully transposed and implemented, is
materialistic. These two remarks seem to be contradicting eachother, but the main difference
is the environment being or not being a priority. In the accession countries environment is not
recognized as a priority, and environmental ministries are very weak.

Concerning the length of the requested transition periods: I think that instead of rushing ahead
with full compliance in a short period of time, we should look for realistic, detailed and
binding plans for the transposition and implementation. This would in my opinion go over the
presently proposed requests for transition periods.

Broadening the scope
Too much attention is paid to the legal aspects of the Acquis. Not enough attention is paid to
other instruments. The fifth Environmental Action Plan outlines the importance of other
instruments. Legislation alone is not capable of doing the job. But this is not taken into
account in the evaluation and monitoring of the process of accession. The other problem is the
lack of integration of the environment into other sectors. Also the policies of other sectors
should be evaluated in relation to the Helsinki- and the Cardiff process about integrating the
environment into other sectors policies.

Summary of a few proposals:
1. Insisting on reasonable timetables. For policy-, position- and plan preparation. It is better
   to invest time now, outlining the strategy and then speed up the implementation than
   going ahead very fast now, which may backfire. An example of this is the Czech Republic
   where a request for a transition period was submitted last June, but just last week the
   Ministry of finance said: “No, this is to expensive.” And now they can’t compromise
   between the two ministries so they are going to ask for an additionial request. This means
   the transition process was actually too fast.
2. In monitoring and evaluating the progress of the countries one has to take into acount the
   process as well as the product. Insist on public participation and stakeholder involvement.
   Include the evaluation of the spectrum of instruments, not only the technical transtition of
   the legislation. Include the integration of the environment into other sectors. This is
   broadening of the scope.
3. Continue and increase the support for NGO activities, to contribute to an independent
   view into the process into EU acccession related issues. And put pressure on member
   countries for them to also support these activities.
4. Encourage country specific situations to be expressed and elaborated. At present there is
   too much emphasis on technical bureaucratic transposition of legislation without much
   regard for local specific situations and alternative solutions for the problems.
As a citizen of one of the accession countries I notice that the power of the EU accession
proces is enormous in our country, and it hasn’t been yet taken advantage of for the cause of
environment and sustainable development. Hopefully we can do this in the future.

Reaction Minister Pronk:
I agree with the four aspects summarised at the end. I’m in favour of reasonable timetables,
pre-accession and post-accession.

Secondly the enlargement is a political process, so the process is as important as the product.
What we are discussing is democratisation in Europe as a whole, a process towards peace,
towards strenghening the civil society. And concerning your plea for the broad interpretation
of the agreement on access to information: it’s not a bureaucratic or a legalistic process. It’s a
political process. That means that you have to involve the public as a whole, not only by
giving them information, but by involving them in the process itself. That presupposes full
and free access to information.

I agree also with the plea for country-specificity. But this is the most difficult part, because
the EU is based on general criteria. I wonder whether country-specificity could be used as a
criterium after a long transition period has been gone trough. But it is a specific argument in
favour of a transition period.

It’s by the way not my view that is so important. It’s more important to have an exchange of
your view among yourselves. It’s better to listen to civil society in Central European
countries. And my views are perhaps not representative for the intergovernmental community
in Western Europe. I’ve noticed that in the EC so far there is a fear for CEE countries coming
in the Union. Fear for distortion of trade and competition. Fear by the ministries of economic
affairs. And for that reason, in my view, the environmental Acquis is being used as a pretext.
Not to the interest of the CEE countries, but just to protect the economic Acquis in Western
Europe. And I argue against that. A quick accession may indeed perhaps distort part of the
competition in Western Europe. So what, is my view. The accession is necessary for political
security and democratisation reasons and these are more important then a certain decree of
economic distortion.
The second thing that alarms me a bit, is that the environmental community in Western
Europe is giving, in my view, undue absolute priority to environmental aspects. This means
the enironmental community makes exactly the same mistake as the economical community.
For this reason I’m trying to argue for an integrated approach. Weighing pro’s and con’s, and
allowing the countries to become a full political member of the community as soon as
possible. I have the impression that perhaps the implementation of for instance environmental
and also social dimensions in the integration would become more sustainable if it would be
part of the process of being a member rather then being a condition for becoming a member.

Vida Wagner:
One more time about my plea for access to information: what, do you think, can we do to
change the situation? At the moment the process is closed, there is exclusively only attention
for the product.

Jointly asking for all the information, not only as the NGO community of the accession
countries, but also jointly with the NGOs in the member states themselves. Insiting on all
information access on the basis of which you can carry out joint accion.
Magda Stoczkiewicz, CEE Bankwatch Network/FoEE, Brussels/Poland
Sustainable use of pre-accession funds
CEE Bankwatch Network is a network of NGOs from CEE. For the last five years we
monitored the funds coming to the region from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
We studied how the funds influenced the environment and how the problems with exchange
of information and the public participation were dealt with.

The topic of my speech is sustainable use of pre-accession funds. This will be about 22 billion
Euro for all the accession countries over the next six years. Maybe it’s not that much money,
but we have to keep in mind that this money will be mixed with state budget money and loans
from other institutions, so all together it will have quite a profound impact on the economies
of the countries and also on the environment. The transition period is also a trainingperiod for
preparing for cohension and structural funds. This also makes it quite important.

The problem is not so much the length of the periods, in which we will do things, but how we
invest the money wisely. Especially less rich countries can’t afford to make mistakes, there is
simply not enough money to do things twice. Unfortunatly at the moment, our experience
from monitoring the IFIs and also from the first period of PHARE money coming to the
region, shows that the funds were not really invested in a sustainable way. First of all the
whole concept of sustainability is not implemented, it rather stays on the level of theoretical
discussions. Secondly, for the new pre-accessionfunds there was a demand for sectoral
strategies. But because of the guidelines coming too late and the time being too short, the
strategies are more a sort of financial plan instead of real strategies. This means they don’t
assess the impact of the investments, they don’t have sustainability integrated in it.

Next to that, some provisions in the guidelines are not sustainable. For example, it is quite
clearly stated that the funds should be in priority used for the extention of the transeuropean
networks to the countries. This means a lot of money will be spent on roads, highways and
highspeed railways. But the whole sector of transport will probably not develop in a
sustainable way. Alternative solutions are not much mentioned in these guidelines.

Examples of bad investments
To give you some examples of how pre-accession money was used in the past, let me present
the M0 case in Hungary. This is a ringroad around Budapest that was financed by a PHARE
grant and the European Investment Bank (EIB). It violated national and EU environmental
legislation. It is going through a residential area but people only found out about it when the
bulldozers were there already. There was no public participation. The funds that were spent
on the ringroad, didn’t alleviate the problems in the city. So instead of investing in
improvements of the urban transport within the city, huge amouts of money went to the
ringroad which was not really fulfilling the need.

Another example of this we have in Poland where also the EIB and PHARE have financed a
bypass through the city of Poznan. Everybody would expect that the bypass is bypassing the
town. But in Poznan it goes through the town and trough the water reservoir. Other
alternatives were not taken into consideration. So at the moment 14 million Euro from the
EIB is going to be spent to move the waterreservoir to another place. Which from my
persective is a complete waste of money and also a violation of the existing legislation. We
have many of these examples.
It is very important that enlargement has to be beneficial for both sides, memberstates and
accession countries. The money is coming from the EU but to a large extent it is influencing
our environment. Also we will have to pay some of it back. So it’s in our mutual interest to
spend it wisely.

Proposals to make the funds more sustainable:
1. The projects should be based on sustainable sectoral policies, which demand the
   integration of environmental aspects into other policies. It’s crucial not to speak about
   environment separately from other sectors. Instead of very expensive technological
   solutions we should think of more sectoral solutions which are not necessarily exactly
   within the Acquis Communautaire, but in the end the product are meeting the standards
   that are needed.
2. In terms of agriculture and transport an Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) should be
   done. All these funds have to be assessed on their influence on the environment.
3. For the last 5 years I’v been struggling with the EIB which is very intransparent. I think
   it’s crucial to make sure the civil society has access to information of the pre-accession
   funds and about the matching funds coming to the country. There are ways of monitoring
   these funds and of making them and decissionmakers more transparent and open.
4. The transfer of know-how. It seems that with ISPA money, where the split is 50-50
   between transport and envrironment, the problem is that our countries are still not enough
   prepared to have good projects. We have to learn better how to prepare environmental
   projects. So we have to keep the balance, and not let the transport investments overrule the
5. It is very important that the NGOs as a community gets together. But it is also important
   to speak to you (referring to Minister Pronk) because our voices have to be heard.
   Therefore I disagree with you that it’s not important to meet with you.

Reaction Minister Jan Pronk:
I would like to receive more written information about the unsustainable use of funds. I’m
very familiar with European development programs. I always thought they were of very bad
quality (too bureaucratic etc). I imagine this is also the case with funds for pre-accession
countries. The only hope I had was that the CEE countries would be better organized in terms
of access to information skills, in order to put up some countering power against bad
progranmms. What you are saying now is that that is perhaps not the case because there is not
adequate access to the information. Even not to the matching funds. But even if you wouldn’t
have full access to information about the money coming from Brussels, you are still in a
democracy entiteled to have full information about all the matching funds, and then indirectly
you would have full information about the funds coming from Brussels. So I would strongly
argue for pushing for full information on your own budget funds.

I agree with you that there is the danger that all these projects and programmes are too
strongly based on a very specific definition on what a sector is. They ought to be sector based
you said, but then a sector defined in terms of sustainability. What you are saying with
regards to pre-accession funds also applies to European programmes within the EU. The
agricultural funds are strongly oriented towards subsidies for social reasons in a number of
countries. This is sometimes in conflict with overall sustainable criteria. Many funds for
innovative new technological programms that are being used also as a European priority are
far from sustainable. So it’s not only CEE countries that are victim to such short sightedness,
it’s also within Europe as a whole. And that’s for me a reason always to argue for pumping
less money around through the Brussels-European machinery. As soon as decisions are being
taken in Brussels, the money is alienated from national and regional communities themselves.

In a way what is happening is just another example of integration. You see it in the world as a
whole, for instance when we are discussing international agreements on the basis of the WTO.
Integration is always seen in technological terms, terms of the economic filosophy of the
GATT part of economy is already being integrated. That’s also being done now with regards
to the access to the EU by the CEE countries. Integration into Western Europe means
integration into the infrastructure, the economy and the technology of Western Europe, which
is hierarchic. I would say: critizise that by also critizing the lack of sustainability in many of
the western European programmes. Critisize it by saying and proving that in terms of for
instance environmental sustainability you are ahead of many European countries, for instance
ahead in biodiversity. In that case you don’t have to embrace the full environmental Acquis of
the EU community, because it is in a way partial.

Palo Misiga, ELF, Slovakia
The administrative dimension

Usually when environment and enlargenment are discussed, people speak about the speed of
accession, about transition periods and pre-accession funds. And very often institutional
dimensions of the proces are forgotten. Therefore I would like to focus in my presentation on
this. I see the development of institutions as a critical precondition for success of the
accession process. I can illustrate this with an example from my country, Slovakia. We have
to adopt 60 laws and other legal documents within 2 years and we have to approximately
double the number of experts and other staff in our environmental institutions to be able to
transpose and implement EU environmental policies. This gives a lot of pressure. We have to
hire a lot of staff, develop a lot of skills, we need technical equipment and financial resources.
It seems to me that our government is aware of the problem and is addressing it. There is an
audit of the efficiency of the public administration and the budget will be increased. And also
the EU is very instrumental in this proces. There are the PHARE instrumential development
programme, twinnings, and also cooperation between memberstates and accession countries. I
have to say that The Netherlands is one of the most actrive countries in this area (at least in

The wrong goals
This all sounds very optimistic, but I believe that we are not using the momentum created by
the accession process in the institutional development fully. The reason is that the objective of
the institutional developmen now seems be to create institutions that are able to adapt EU
policies instead of having institutions that are able to solve environmental problems. I don’t
think that these objectives are mutually exclusive but I believe focusing on the first doesn’t
automatically mean that we also meet the other objective.

Our institutions have to analyse and remove discrepancies between EU policies and domestic
policies instead of analysing and solving environmental problems. Also because of such a
strong focus on adopting the environmental Acquis and the time pressure sometimes proper
political deliberation, consultations with stakeholders is omitted, or is done in a very formal
way, just to satisfy the EU. I think the results are suboptimal policies, reinforcements of
bureaucratic habits in our institutions and bypassing democratic processes. So it seems to me
there is a contradiction between what we mentioned as a main objective of the process, which
is security, stability and democracy and the outcome. We are missing the opportunity to build
a flat non-bureaurocratic and public service oriented administration.

So what is the reason for this? I know it’s mainly our own business. We have to solve most of
the things at home and we have to focus on the redefinition of the objective of the
institutionsal development. We have to clarify what participation, partnership and public
involvemnt means. We have to secure that democratic procedures are not bypassed. But I
believe that there is a possibility that the EU and memberstates will help us and that it’s
possible to redesign pre-accession assistance in the institutional development field in the way
that all these problems I spoke about are addressed.

Reaction Minister Jan Pronk:
I have the impression that the quality of the environmental legislation in Brussels is quite
good. I also have the impression that it is of great help for our own domestic environmental
legislation. You can always criticise some elements of the environmental Acquis but on the
whole I’m quite impressed.

The problem is not so much the quality of environmental legislation per se, let’s say pollution
standards etc, but the lack of integration of environmental legislation and policymaking on
the one hand and on the other hand a number of other sectoral policies. For example you
mentioned agriculture, you gave good examples of transportation policies and that does not
only apply of course to accessory countries but it applies also to European policies within the
European Union. There is compartmentalisation. That same problem also occurs in national
governments, it is a decision making proces which is taking place at a smaller scale, by
definition, with greater access for public and the media, than in any process taking place in

I understand very well your fear that a fast embracing of the environmental Acquis gives very
strong emphasis to a process of legislation and bureaucratisation and that the weight is in the
field of the administration rather than in the field of political decision making.

What you are saying now is that this is exactly not what you need in a process of building up
new societies, new political systems. I agree. Politics should be a very gradual process, not a
shock therapy. What we have seen for instance in the activities of the major international
organisations after the fall of the Berlin wall, for example the World Bank and the IMF in
regards to Russia, was a shock therapy. Change them as soon as possible into a so called good
society measured by our own western values, a combination of capitalism and democracy,
was the idea. Even if the model is right, it is the way towards that model that is crucial. And
the transition period in for example the former Soviet Union towards a capitalist society, has
brought that society into the hands of capitalist of bad will. Undue emphasis to the private
commercial sector without the wrong emphasis on legislation, administration and bureaucracy
is even worse. What you are going through is not the ideal model, but anyway it’s a much
better model than the former SU, because you are building up a strong institutional,
legistative, bureaucratic, administrative capacity.

The ideal is of course a civil society political democracy process. In my view that again is
something that could better be guaranteed after accession than during he process of accession,
given the nature of the present process. I want you to be a member of the EU, all of the CEE
societies. Western Europe should not define Europe as a Western European concept. Join us
as soon as possible and participate in the decisionmaking of sustainable development in

Vida Wagner:
In a way I understand your position, but a lot of countries have gone through a system that
was top-down controlled from Moscow. We heard yesterday in one of the presentations that
Brussels likes big investments just like the communists did. So I can see many analogies.
These countries have actually achieved a little bit in the development of their democracies in
the last ten years. And since this particular process in some aspects is working against us, so
when we do become full members we will not be equipped to elaborate our own interests
because we have been equipped to receive topped down packets of legislation. I think we
could combine quality and speed if more emphasis was put on the process.

Minister Jan Pronk.
You will have to bet to big scale, due to an undue emphasis on a legalistic bureaucratic
approach and due to the incorporation into a market which is very strongly oriented to specific
views. These are three disadvantages against the three advantages. You have to weigh them.
Three advantages: one is a higher economic welfare and secondly more peace and stability in
Europe and thirdly what about democratisation and the values of human rights. There will be
a stronger guarantee for this once member of the EU than when you are left alone, somewhere
between the powerblocks. These three arguments are in my view very strong and prominent
targets. The other three are costs, they are not completely unavoidable. You could diminish
the risks of the three disadvantages by participating in the process.

Magda Stoczkiewicz:
Just two brief requests. Do you think it would be possible to have a similar roundatable with
your colleagues from the Ministries of Economics or Finance included in a debate with NGOs
form CEE? And a personal request, could you talk to you colleague, the Minister of Finance
and bring to his awareness that the EIB is the most intransparent institution you can imagine?

Minister Jan Pronk:
I wonder to what extent other ministers would be interested in such a dialogue. If the CEE
NGO community (not only environmental oriented) would come with a specific request for a
dialogue with a number of other ministers such a thing could be organised. Secondly please
give me more specific information on individual programmes of the EIB so that I would have
a concrete basis on which I could make the points and illustrate them.

Minister Pronk has to leave. Questions from the audience towards Hugo von Meijenfeldt,
Director International Affairs at the Dutch Ministry of Environment.

John Hontelez, EEB, Brussels:
Pronk contradicted himself when he said that it doesn’t matter for the economy whether you
join or not, you’ll have negative and positive developments anyway and later he said that the
accession will pay itself back, and that it will have an extra economic impact. I think the last
remark is the right one. Second comment: I don’t want to speak on behalf of the Dutch NGOs
but I can certainly speak on behalf of the West European NGOs. Those NGOs would say
Pronk doesn’t have a very accurate picture on how the NGOs use the environmental Acquis in
the discussion about accession. Two years ago I was in a panel in the European Parliament
and was questioning the bureaucratic approach, we were focusing on the wider impact of the
accession on agriculture an so. So I think western NGOs are closer to the view that CEE
NGOs have. Thirdly a question about joint implementation. The minister said that CEE
countries were less enthousiastic than Bulgaria and Romania. How do you think that comes?

Magda Stoczkiewicz:
I’m surprised that he is surprised, because when you look at the joint implementation projects
of course more developed countries would not go for it. It’s a short term selling your credits
and less developed countries are definitely benefiting more then rich countries. So Bulgaria
and Romania are less reluctant than us. We have Russia now planning to import nuclear waste
to get money, so you can understand less rich countries can get to this level to sell everything
they have.

Hugo von Meijenfeldt:
Perhaps you are right and it’s not suprising. I think a lot of accession countries mix emission
trading with joint implementation. So with emission trading it’s not suprising that Bulgaria
and Romania have more to offer. But joint implementation would add something because it is
an investment and it reduces extra CO2 and other greenhouse gasses reductions. So we are
trying to convince also the Czech Republic and other countries that they don’t sell existing

Magda Stoczkiewicz:
The problem with joint implementation is that you go for cheaper solutions. And then when
we get to the point that we’ll have to do something about our emission, we’ll have to go for
more expensive solutions.

Darek Szwed, BWLE, Poland:
What we are missing in the discussion is attention for sustainability of the local civil society.
The closer CEE countries get to accession to the EU the more they are just concerned about
becoming EU members and the more they are forgetting about this ‘solidarity’ word. The
word that we used very often ten years ago. Now it seems to be forgotten because we want to
get into the consumption oriented system.

Vida Wagner:
I think not only for the sake of sustainable development but also for the sake of more short
term goals, we should really have some sort of format coming up with common positions. The
suggestions of Pronk were also in this direction. We don’t really have a common strategic
approach. Next month in Budapest there will be a dialogue with the Commissioner for
instance, but we haven’t even talked about it. When we are together we never spent enough
time to think about more strategic approaches.

Von Meijenfeldt:
Dareks question was how to start it. We don’t want you to make the same mistakes as the
West did, because we missed all these opportunities and now we have to return everything
which is twice as costly and difficult. The government or politics should take up the lead and
not ask you or advice you how to do it, although you could be of a great help of course to be
of a great help to be very well organized and sting the government. Integration would be one
of the elements of sustainable development. It could be an environmental appraisal of policies
in transport or agriculture or economy, which would again be precedental.

Tibor Farago, WWF, Hungary:
There should be one more argument in the discussion. What I learned is that when you are not
a member of the EU you can be consulted but you are not taken serious. All the planning,
decision making etc is done without us. This is not fair.

Ivan Gyulai, Hungary:
I like to comment on the pre-accession funds. It’s small money for the accession countries but
also for the EU. But there is an overestimation of the funds by the receiving countries. It is
money for learning, not for investments as a solution to meet with the requirements of the
Acquis. The money compromises the accession to the Union. Concerning rural development:
in my point of view it is dangerous to get money for the rural development. As you know, the
rural areas in CEE are not developed at all. Because of that, biodiversity was preserved very
well. Now this small money moves all of the rural society and they started to plan things. But
I do not see a mechanism to ensure that all this development will not destroy the biodiversity.
I think it is an underestimation of the West that CEE has a very good potential for
development if they can use their national natural assets wisely. Instead of promoting the
preservation of these assets, they are promoting issues like waste management etc. We might
gain better environmental standards but what is the cost for this? If we will have growing
pressure on the natural resources, this will mean we have a poor chance of meeting with the
environmental criteria.

Magda Stoczkiewicz:
It sure that the environmental Acquis will lead to better environmental standards. But it will
be jeopardized if we get more highways and cars. So you have higher standards but as well
more cars. From both sides there is a very separate and narrow way of thinking. You have one
set of Directives you have to implement in your country and then you have investments in
sectors that are completely jeopardizing the goals of these Directives. And then in some years
Poland might be accused for not fulfilling the environmental Directives, but it’s because the
funding coming from EU for other areas. And what is going to happen if we don’t meet the
sustainability goals? We never answered this question.

Hugo Von Meijenfeldt:
I want to get back to John Hontelez’ remark about the minister contradicting himself. His
argument was that when CEE countries wouldn’t acceed the Union they would certainly have
a far less sustainable development than is the case when they enter the Union. Of course also
the economical and unsustainable growth would go faster. But also all the instruments that
balance it. I would like to argue that when you do join the Union you really are a power block.
Then we have a collective mayority. Then you have a possibility to come to the level of a
higher classical environmental Acquis within waste water etc. And the most difficult part is
indeed the integration. We don’t have legal instruments in the Union to fight it. It’s policy talk
until now. It doesn’t help not to join the Union, join us as quick as possible and use your
membership. And I hope you’ll get more access to information, desicionmaking etc to take
part in the process, to avoid the unsustainable elements like in agriculture and transport. I
agree with the example of the rural parts that have a high biodiversity because of lack of
interest. But also the Acquis Communautaire has instruments to protect it. We have to use it
and this is why part of the Common Position of the Council (the 15 memberstates) is in
favour of long transition periods on the classical points like waste water, air quality and
industries, but no transition periods for the habitat or biodiversity Directives. There are other
positive proposals on the shelves in the Energy Council. But they have been on the shelves for
five years already. If you join we can get them out of the shelves.
Petko Kovachev, CEIE, Bulgaria:
One practical things that memberstates could do is taking more active positions to ensure that
big institutions like the WB and the EIB will promote more pro-environmental policies, more
access to information etc. The second proposal is that your countries could push our
governments to fullfill one legal procedure: the EIA. NGOs in Bulgaria think that these
procedures should be done prior to financial agreement.

Christy Duijvelaar, REC:
I don’t understand that you still keep the hopes that joining the EU will help your countries.
They have no interest in you. Why do you expect things always to come from the West? Be
proud of your country, and talk about what you can offer us.

Magda Stoczkiewicz:
It’s our mutual interest. The enlargement is equally important for east and west. In the EU
things are not very good either but we can change things together, to make a sustainable

Ralph Hallo, Natuur en Milieu, The Netherlands:
In the first place we really have to continue this dialogue that we started with the Minister. In
particular because I heard something very important about not wanting to be too much of a
trouble maker. There is an overall political goal. I think it’s legitimate for us in the West and
in the East to think about what the enlargement will mean for the environment. What interests
us form the position of the EU memberstates: Will the accession with its long transition
periods mean that the further development of EU environmental policy is going to be blocked
by the voting power of the new members? It is a legitimate concern if you look at the rate of
economic development and the rate of environmental destruction in the 15 memberstates.
Another thing is the impact on nature in the accession countries of uncontrolled and too rapid
investments in the East. My request for all of you here is to keep each other informed.

Amsterdam, May 31, 2000

Jeroen Kuiper
Sonja Willems

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