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You are here: Home / News / EEA celebrates its enlargement to 13 new countries

EEA celebrates its enlargement to 13 new countries

On 17 May the European Environment Agency held a special event to celebrate its enlargement to the 13 countries in central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean basin that are seeking accession to the European Union.

On 17 May the European Environment Agency held a special event to celebrate its enlargement to the 13 countries in central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean basin that are seeking accession to the European Union.

The celebration took the form of a high-level conference attended by the European Commissioner for Environment and ministers, deputy ministers, ambassadors and Management Board members from most of the EEA’s member and observer countries.

The Copenhagen-based Agency, the main European-level provider of environmental information to policy-makers and the public, is the first European Union body to open its doors to the 13 countries that have applied for EU membership.

Eleven of the countries became EEA members during 2001. They are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic.

Turkey’s representative at the conference said his country would complete its EEA membership formalities by the end of May. It is anticipated that Poland will also do so within the coming weeks.

The enlargement event was preceded on 16 May by a conference focussing on past, present and future environment and sustainable development information needs, followed by a dinner for participants in the two conferences.

Speakers at all three events took the opportunity to thank Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán for his service as Executive Director over the eight years since the Agency became operational in mid-1994, and to congratulate him on his and the EEA’s achievements. At his own request, Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán is leaving the Agency when his contract expires at the end of May.

Speakers at the 16 May conference, Towards a knowledge-based sustainable society, were as follows:

  • Stanley Johnson, consultant, former Member of the European Parliament, former European Commission environment policy official
  • Svend Auken, Member of Danish Parliament, former Minister of Environment
  • Barbara Young, Chief Executive, Environment Agency of England and Wales
  • Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), by recorded video
  • Frits Schlingemann, Director, UNEP Regional Office for Europe
  • James Edwards, Executive Secretary, Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • Professor Philippe Bourdeau, former chairman of EEA Scientific Committee, former head of EEA task force
  • Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, EEA Executive Director

Keynote speakers at the 17 May enlargement conference, From Dobris to Kiev and beyond, were as follows:
  • Margot Wallström, EU Commissioner for Environment
  • Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, EEA Executive Director
  • Marko Slokar, Member of EEA Management Board, Slovenia
  • Josef Seják, Member of EEA Management Board, Czech Republic (replacing Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart)
  • Michael Constantinides, Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Member of EEA Management Board, Cyprus
  • Cemal Erbay, on behalf of Environment Minister Fevzi Aytekin, Turkey
  • Prof Bedrich Moldan, Chairman of EEA Scientific Committee
  • Hans Christian Schmidt, Minister of Environment, Denmark.

In her speech to the enlargement conference, Ms Wallström said the early contact between the EU and the Accession Countries that EEA membership would provide was important since long lead times were necessary to develop good quality environmental information.

She called the Agency’s opening to the Accession Countries one of its most important achievements under Mr Jiménez-Beltrán’s leadership.

The EEA is “a vital source of information and analysis [that] provides all of us working on environment at the European level with the kind of information that allows us to make a good case when proposing new policies,” Ms Wallström said.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100