2856th Council meeting Environment EU
Reference: PRES/08/50 Date: 03/03/2008
President Janez Podobnik, Minister for environment and spatial planning of Slovenia
Main results of the Council
The Council adopted conclusions on the environment focusing on the following priorities: climate change and energy, halting biodiversity loss, environmental technologies, sustainable consumption and production, and simplification of legislation. The conclusions will be submitted to the spring European Council. The Council held policy debates on the climate action and renewable energy package, and on a proposal aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from cars. Finally, the Council adopted conclusions on biodiversity and biosafety in preparation for upcoming international conferences. The Council also adopted without debate two common positions on the safety of railways and on the EU Railway Agency.
COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY
* Iraq – Specific restrictive measures 21
* Union of Comoros – Restrictive measures 21
JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS
* Drugs – Benzylpiperazine 21
* Adaptation of legal acts to the regulatory procedure with scrutiny 22
* Safety on the Community’s railways 24
* European Railway Agency 24
* Agreement on air services with Armenia 25
* Parking card for people with disabilities – Enlargement 25
* Public access to documents 26
In this newsitem you can read the report of the item Transport. The complete report on all the items debated is available at europa.eu/
Safety on the Community’s railways
The Council adopted a common position on the proposal for a directive on safety on the Community’s railways (16133/3/07 + ADD 1).
The common position will be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.
The proposal amending the safety directive 2004/49/EC (17039/06) is part of a set of proposals, including a draft directive on interoperability (17038/06) and a draft regulation on the European Railway Agency (17040/06), aimed at improving cross-acceptance of railway vehicles in the EU and thereby improving the functioning of the internal market. The Commission adopted these proposals in December 2006.
Cross-acceptance can be improved by applying the principle of mutual recognition more systematically to national authorisation procedures and by harmonising certain provisions. This will contribute to better conditions for the competitiveness of railways in Europe.
The Council agreed on three main changes to the Commission proposal:
- Secondly, the text agreed by the Council clarifies the different roles and responsibilities of players involved in railway transport (railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, keepers of vehicles and entities in charge of maintenance of vehicles), in particular as regards the maintenance of railway vehicles.
- Thirdly, the Council proposes to set up a certification system for maintenance. The certificates issued will be valid throughout the whole Community and will guarantee that the certified entity meets the maintenance requirements for any vehicle for which it is responsible. Those involved in maintenance will be free to choose whether to participate in this system.
- In addition, taking into account the fact that Cyprus and Malta do not have railway systems, the Council provides for an exemption from transposing and implementing this directive as long as no railway system is established on their territories.
Firstly, the Council will transfer all provisions on authorisation of railway vehicles from the safety directive to the interoperability directive. As a result, all provisions on authorisation will be incorporated into a single legislative act.
European Railway Agency
The Council adopted a common position on a proposal for a regulation amending the regulation establishing a European Railway Agency (16138/07 + ADD 1).
The text will be sent to the European Parliament for a second reading under the codecision procedure.
The Commission forwarded its proposal to the Council in December 2006 (17040/06). The main objective of the proposal is to adapt the legislative framework for the European Railway Agency to new tasks that result from modifications to the rail safety directive (see above) and the railway interoperability directive.
An important new Agency task will be the classification of all technical and safety rules applicable in each member state in a single reference document. This will make it possible to gradually identify which national rules should be considered equivalent and, consequently, cannot be used as grounds for additional checks. The Agency will therefore contribute to increased cross-acceptance of railway vehicles authorisations between member states.
The Council made some changes to the Commission proposal with a view to ensuring better use of the Agency’s technical expertise.
For more details see press release 15891/07, p. 45.(2835th Council meeting
Transport, Telecommunications and Energy).
Agreement on air services with Armenia
The Council adopted a decision approving the signing and provisional application of an agreement on air services with Armenia.
The agreement is the result of negotiations carried out by the Commission under a mandate granted by the Council in June 2003 with a view to bringing member states’ existing bilateral aviation agreements into line with Community law.