Enlargement of the Agency a reality
The Final Acts of Membership of the European Environment Agency were signed in Brussels today (9 October 2000) by representatives of the candidate countries in Central- and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean area and by Commissioner Margot Wallström on behalf of the European Community. All 13 candidate countries were able to sign except Poland. However, Poland declared that they would be able to sign by 1 January 2001.
On this occasion, the Executive Director of the Agency, Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, stated inter alia:
This is a significant event, certainly for the Agency, as the first EU body open for enlargement, and moreover for the environment. This time it is environment that takes the lead and shows the way for others to follow.
This step will foster progress towards more sustainable development for the new member countries and for Europe as a whole, i.e. 550 million people living in an area of more than 5.5 million square kilometres.
Membership of the Agency means being able to:
- Influence Agency priorities through participation in the Management Board
- Strengthen national and European information systems through full participation in the European Environmental Information and Observation Network, EIONET, building on the expertise already developed through the PHARE programme.
- Contribute to the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-makers and the public through the European Environmental Reference Centre
- Participate fully in the assessment and reporting work of the Agency, transforming data into information of direct use for framing and implementing policies for the environment and sustainable development.