This is the decade of international commitments to sustainable development and of the consolidation of the importance of environmental information. The UN holds a summit on the environment and development in Rio de Janeiro. The Agenda 21 programme is adopted.
The European Environment Agency sets up office in Copenhagen. Its aim is to provide independent, reliable and comparable environmental information for decision-makers and the public.
The Aarhus Convention is a milestone in the push for access to environmental information.
The European Community becomes the European Union through the Maastricht Treaty, which also strengthens the role of the European Parliament in making environmental
policy. Later, the EU adopts the Amsterdam Treaty, which states that environmental protection requirements are to be integrated into Community policies and
Membership of the Union rises to 15 with the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden, seen by many as pioneers in environmental policy.
East and West Germany are united in October.
A Council Regulation is issued establishing the European Environment Agency and the European environment information and observation network (Eionet).
The first report of the International Panel on Climate Change sparks the beginning of formal negotiations towards an international agreement on climate change.
Adoption of, among others, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (1991), the Habitats Directive (1992), the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (1994), the Air Quality Framework Directive (1996), and the Integrated Pollution Prevention Control Directive (1996).
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe initiates the Environment for Europe process with the first pan-European conference of environment ministers at Dobris, Prague.
At the UN summit on the environment and development in Rio de Janeiro, the Agenda 21 programme is adopted. The Community and its Member States sign the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity.
The EU’s 5th Environment Action Programme puts integration of environment into other policy areas at its core, signalling a shift from purely regulatory measures to an emphasis on economic and fiscal measures.
The European Environment Agency sets up office in Copenhagen in 1994. It aims to provide independent, reliable and comparable environmental information for decision-makers and the public.
The first genetically modified food crop is released on the market. It remains a strongly controversial environmental issue.
The EEA publishes its first pan-European state of the environment report, the ‘Dobris’ report.
The EU gains three new Member States, Austria, Finland and Sweden, seen by many as pioneers in environmental policy.
The EEA publishes its first report on environmental taxes.
The Kyoto Protocol is adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December. It sets specific targets and deadlines to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
EEA publishes Europe’s environment: the second assessment. It supports the fourth ministerial conference in Aarhus, Denmark, June 1998.
The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the ‘Aarhus Convention’) is adopted at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process.
At a meeting in Cardiff, Europe’s leaders invite sectors such as agriculture, transport and energy to develop appropriate environmental strategies.
The Amsterdam Treaty enters into force, requiring that environmental protection be integrated in the definition and implementation of Community policies and activities, with a view to promoting sustainable development.
The EEA publishes Environment in the European Union at the turn of the century.