The Council of «Environment» Ministers convenes four times a year, with the Ministers that hold this portfolio. An informal ministerial meeting may also be held in the country of Presidency (during the present Portuguese Presidency, there will be one in Lisbon, on 31 August and 2 September). Click here to know more about this meeting.
Community action on the environment has developed over the years. The Treaty of the European Union gave it a policy status and the Amsterdam Treaty incorporated the sustainable development principle. At the present time, the protection of the environment is one of the major EU priorities.
The EU’s mission in this area is to promote a harmonious, balanced and sustainable development of economic activities and ensure an environment with a high level of quality.
Other sectors of the EU also took on the problematic integration of environmental issues in other policies, after the Commission’s Communication in 1998, concerning the integration of the environment in EU’s policies, and the Conclusions of the Vienna European Council in 1998.
In 2001 the EU adopted its Sustainable Development Strategy, during the Göteborg Council, which sets out the long-term objectives for sustainable development and essentially concerns climate change, transport, health and natural resources.
To increase the level of Community effectiveness in the environment, the Sixth Action Programme for the Environment was adopted in July 2002. With a time horizon up to 2010, it sets out the EU’s priorities in this field and highlights four areas where urgent action is needed: climate change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health and the management of natural resources and waste.
– Priorities of the Portuguese Presidency for Environment, Spatial Planning and Regional Development
– Trio Programme of the German, Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies (synthesis regarding Environment)