The Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, Minister of the Environment and Water of the Republic of Hungary, Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Poland and Minister of the Environment of the Slovak Republic, representatives of the Visegrad Group Countries,
- reaffirming the great importance of the cooperation of the Visegrad Group countries in the field of environmental protection within the European Union,
- supporting the continuation of the EU enlargement process,
- being aware of the need for coordination of their joint positions on the priorities in relation to the mid-term review of the Sixth Environment Action Programme of the European Community for 2002–2012,
- highlighting the close link of the thematic strategies to the Sixth Environment Action Programme and the need for handling them as a complex policy package
- bearing in mind the recent meetings of the Environment Ministers of the Visegrad Group Countries including respective bilateral and multilateral agreements concluded among the given countries,
- appreciating the participation of the Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe as observer
have agreed as follows:
1. WASTE: The EU Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste, problems of illegal waste import, recycling technologies
The ministers agreed on the need for further cooperation on national positions with regard to the Draft Waste Directive.
The ministers acknowledged that waste management hierarchy preferring reuse and recycling over energy recovery should be explicitly specified in the Directive on waste; except for cases where life cycle thinking leads to more preferable results.
The ministers expressed their reservation on the proposal regarding the municipal waste incinerators re-classification to recover facility. The ministers agreed on the need of increasing the energy efficiency of waste incineration by other instruments based on detailed technical characteristics (e.g. BAT).
The ministers agreed that the scope of the provisions regarding self-sufficiency and proximity principle should be broaden in order to inclose recovery of mixed municipal waste including waste incineration with energy recovery in dedicated facilities.
The ministers underlined importance of joint use of existing recycling facilities in the territories of V4 countries.
The ministers agreed on the need to introduce on the level of the Framework Directive a clear and transparent definition of the recovery, energy recovery, disposal as well as transparent definition of waste and to indicate the criteria, upon which waste is considered as raw material. The ministers reaffirmed that the regeneration of waste oils should remain a priority.
The ministers recognized that it is necessary to further exchange information and experience on the control of international waste shipment in accordance with the new Shipment Regulation, with special attention to the non-hazardous waste intended for recovery.
The ministers acknowledged that particular attention should be paid to the prevention of illegal traffic of wastes and enforcement of EU waste shipment legislation and agreed on the strengthening of the co-operation of the authorities responsible for the control of transboundary waste shipment within the V4 countries.
2. Natura 2000: the V4 countries experience in financing
The ministers considered the provision of adequate funds for Natura 2000 network from EU sources in the period of 2007–2013 as essential to implement the Birds and Habitats Directives (Natura 2000). They expect the Commission to approve without delay relevant draft strategic documents on agricultural and rural development with a view to a proper representation of Natura 2000 financing from the relevant funds.
The ministers agreed to cooperate in the elaboration of joint positions in the above-mentioned issue so that the interests of the new EU member states would be successfully represented during the negotiations with the European Commission.
The ministers appraised the launching of the EU project for member states on integrated financing of Natura 2000 for the 2007–2013 financial period.
The ministers agreed on the continuation of the exchange of experience and views during expert meetings on Natura 2000 in the V4 countries and on the creation of joint monitoring methods on transboundary areas.
The ministers took note of the invitation of the Polish minister for an EU-wide Ministerial Conference "Natura 2000—Chance for Sustainable Development in Europe", to be held in Tuczno (Poland) in the first week of September 2006.
The ministers took note of the proposal of the Slovak minister to deliver a joint statement to the forthcoming informal EU council meeting of environmental ministers in Austria (May, 2006) on the Natura 2000 financing.
The ministers took note of the invitation provided by the Hungarian minister for an expert level seminar on Natura 2000 financing, in early June 2006, in Balaton National Park (Hungary).
3. INSPIRE (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the Community): exchange of views on benefits from using harmonized geographic information
The ministers fully supported the ambitious initiative INSPIRE which aims for the better EU regulation in the area of spatial information and should be used for the purpose of formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Community environmental policy-making.
The ministers have agreed that the Council of the EU has reached a balanced compromise in its common position. The Ministers attach great importance to the approval of the Directive as soon as possible, preferably during the second reading.
The ministers reaffirmed their support to the Common Position of the Council of the EU that takes into account the needs of public bodies responsible for the collection and dissemination of the relevant spatial data to charge and license their work. The ministers also agreed to take care about the particular issues, which could limit the rights of member states, and decided that the other technical issues should be discussed on other levels.
4. Information on other issues
The Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians on 4 January 2006 and exchanged views on preparatory process for the First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties.
The ministers expressed their opinion:
· that the first Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians should be held in the country, which has already finalised the ratification process of the convention;
· that they support the establishment of the seat of the Permanent Secretariat of Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians in country, which can ensure the most effective operation of the Secretariat.
The ministers took note, appreciating the information provided by
- the Hungarian Minister on the preparations for the 6th 'Environment for Europe' UNECE Ministerial Conference to be held in Belgrade in 2007;
- the Hungarian Minister on the preparations for the 5th Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety taking place in Budapest from 24 to 29 September 2006;
- the Czech Minister about the intention of the Czech Republic to host the regional centre for capacity building and transfer within the framework of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, at the Masaryk University of Brno;
- the Czech Minister about the invitation of the Czech Republic for a side event (titled: Planning and Evaluation of Sustainable Development at Regional Level - Sharing Experience) to be organized during the 14th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development on 9th May in New York;
- the Czech Minister about the willingness of the Czech Republic to host the Regional Reference Centre for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and / or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD), at the University Palacky of Olomouc;
- by the Czech Minister about the organization of an International Workshop on Illegal Trade in Chemical Substances, Prague, 6–8 November 2006;
- the Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), on the review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy and possible improvements of its implementation through facilitating institutions such as the REC.
The ministers accepted the invitation by H.E. Mr. Libor Ambrozek to attend the 14th Meeting of the Environment Ministers of the Visegrad Group Countries to be held in 2007 in the Czech Republic.
Done in Košice on 5 May 2006
His Excellency Mr. Libor Ambrozek
Minister of the Environment
His Excellency Mr. Miklós Persányi
Minister of the Environment and Water
Republic of Hungary
His Excellency Mr. Jan Szyszko
Minister of the Environment
Republic of Poland
His Excellency Mr. László Miklós
Minister of the Environment