Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 14

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview

The European Environment Agency

PETER G. G. DAVIES


I. Introduction

The Council of the European Communities on 29 October 1993 announced its decision to locate the new European Environment Agency (the Agency) in Copenhagen.1 Legislation establishing the Agency (the Agency Regulation)2 had been passed in May 1990 but the Agency had not been able to commence work until the location of its headquarters had been decided upon by the Council.3 Although 'maintaining close links with the Community institutions and the Member States',4 the Agency is an independent body with its own legal personality.5 Its primary objective is to 'provide the Community and the Member States with . . . objective, reliable and comparable information at European level enabling them to take the requisite measures to protect the environment, to assess the results of such measures and to ensure that the public is properly informed about the state of the environment.'6

____________________
1
OJ 1993 C 323/1. The address of the Agency is 6 Kongens Nytorv, 1050 Copenhagen, Denmark. On the establishment of the Agency generally, see European Commission 'The European Environment Agency', doc. ISEC/B6/94, 11 Feb 94 (a 'background' report), and 'European Environment Agency gets under way' ENDS Report 240, Jan 1995, 20-3. The Danish Government's decision to locate the Agency in Central Copenhagen, rather than in an alternative site in Riso, was accepted by the Agency's Management Board at its first meeting held in Brussels on 17 Dec 1993; see Minutes of the First Meeting of the Agency's Management Board, 17 Dec 93 ( Brussels).
2
Council Regulation ( EEC) No. 1210/90 of 7 May 1990 on the European Environment Agency and the European environment information and observation network, OJ 1990 L 120/1. The basis for the Agency Regulation was Art 130(s), EC Treaty.
3
Agency Regulation, Art 21 notes that the Regulation would only enter into force once the Agency's location had been finalized. The delay in agreeing the location had arisen due to deadlock within the Council on the siting of Community-wide institutions generally. All but one of the Member States (the exception being Luxembourg) declared a willingness to provide a home for the Agency's headquarters; see N. Haigh, Manual of Environmental Policy: the EC and Britain ( Longman 1992) 11.4-3, who also notes that the UK had proposed Cambridge as a possible site, and G. Bakkenist, Environmental Information ( Cameron May 1994) 260-1.
4
Agency Regulation, preamble.
5
Idem, Art 7 which also notes that the Agency 'shall enjoy in all Member States the most extensive legal capacity accorded to legal persons under their laws'.
6
Idem, Art 1(2).
© Peter G. G. Davies, 1994, Lecturer in Law, Centre for Enviromnental Law, University of Nottingham. I am indebted to my colleague, Catherine Redgwell, for her valuable comments on an earlier draft. All errors are, of course, the responsibility of the author.

-313-

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