Council remains divided over environmental liability

During their meeting on 4 March, Environment
Ministers remained divided over the issues of insurance and
scope of the environmental liability proposal.

During their meeting on 4 March, Environment ministers
discussed the outstanding issues of the draft directive on
environmental liability: whether or not insurance should be
made compulsory and what is the scope of the proposal. (For
more details on the issues discussed, see


Ahead of the Council, the Greek Presidency had suggested
a step-by-step approach stating that for an initial period
of three years from the date of implementation, there would
be no mandatory financial security. No consensus was
reached on this proposal. While some delegations are in
favour of compulsory financial system from the day of the
entry into force of the directive, some others favour a
voluntary insurance to let time to the insurance industry
to develop workable insurance schemes.

Regarding the scope, there is an agreement that the
unprecise term "biodiversity", originally proposed by the
Commission, should be replaced by "protected species and
natural habitats". However, no agreement was reached on
what is exactly covered by "protected species and natural
habitats". A few delegations expressed their wish to limit
the scope of the proposal to the Wild Birds and Habitats
Directives while some other also want to include other
habitats or species.

Faced with this lack of consensus, the chair of the
meeting, Vasso Papandreou, concluded that further analysis
of the insurance market was needed and recalled her
intention to reach a political agreement on this issue at
the next Environment Council in June 2003.


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