July 10th 2009, Cracow
Cooperation and development: Visegrad priorities
The 16th Meeting of the Environment Ministers of the Visegrad Group Countries organized by Minister Maciej Nowicki took place in Cracow, Poland, on July 9th and 10th. Finalizing the meeting, the ministers signed the Joint Statement strengthening their cooperation especially in the filed of illegal waste shipments between the Member States, experiences related to municipal waste incineration—the qualification of the energy as a form of a renewable source and also need to conclude a new global agreement on climate change.
Polish Minister Maciej Nowicki played host to the Ministers of Environment of the Czech Republic, Karel Blaha, Minister of Environment and Water of the Republic of Hungary, István Kling and Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic, Miloslav Šebek, representatives of the Visegrad Group Countries. The two days meeting was finalized with signing the Joint Statement concerning the definite resolutions to lead the future cooperation.
I'm very satisfied with the meeting results, said Minister Nowicki at the end of the meeting. In Cracow, we have discussed many actual problems. I would like to underline very positive countries attitude towards cooperation a far as the environment protection and the challenges posted by the development are concerned, minister added.
The ministerial document contains the statements on the issue of illegal waste shipments. The Ministers emphasized the need for the unified application of the regulations which govern transboundary waste shipments by all the Member States of the European Union, particularly in relation to the responsibility for illegal waste shipments.
They also made a proposal for a new Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment to replace Directive 2002/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment. Ministers noted with appreciation the progress made by the V4 Countries on the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment and the efforts on improving recovery and recycling of this equipment. Underlining the need to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, protect human health from this waste and its hazardous components, the Ministers expressed the necessity to further development of systems for separate collection and highly efficient recovery.
Ministers welcomed the proposal to change the manner of calculating the collection rate of waste equipment from the target expressed in kg per inhabitant per year to the target calculated as percentage of the weight of the equipment placed on the market in the territory of a given country. However, analyzing the difficulties now occurring on the recovery market,
particularly in relation to waste recycling, the Ministers of the Environment declared that they would cooperate to ensure that such waste equipment recovery and recycling rates would be established that would not pose problems for entrepreneurs and would, at the same time, lead to the development of the market of the recovery and recycling of waste arising from the treatment of waste equipment.
The Ministers exchanged also their views on the substantive preparations for the COP 15 and new Copenhagen agreement—that was also the subject of the discussion of the G8 in Italy. Ministers emphasized the need to undertake the significant mitigation actions, recognizing the scientific view of need to limit the increase of the global average temperature below the 2 degrees C compared to the pre-industrial level. Ministers underlined the need of comparability of these efforts by all the developed countries based on principles of paying capacity and responsibility.
There was also a discussion on challenges related to Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe (CAFE), and the status and significance of nature conservation, including Nature 2000 sites, in the discussion on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013.
The V4 meetings serve as a way to work out the definite solution to the most important problems in the field of environment protection as well as the occasion to exchange the information and experiences. They have become more important especially after the V4 member states accession to the European Union; then, they play a basic role in creating the regional common views.
The Visegrad Group ("Visegrad Four" or V4) is an alliance of four Central European states—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—for the purposes of cooperation and furthering their European integration.
The Group originated in a summit meeting of the heads of state or government of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland held in the Hungarian castle town of Visegrád in 1991.
The country holding the Group's presidency changes each year, in June—the Cracow meeting ended the Polish presidency.