Environment is covered by Annex XX of the EEA Agreement and falls under Subcommittee IV.
In the preamble to the EEA Agreement, the contracting parties state their determination to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to ensure prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources on the basis of the principle of sustainable development. Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains acts that have the protection of the environment as their main objective.
The Working Group on the Environment is responsible for the legislation contained in Chapters I-V of Annex XX of the EEA Agreement:
Chapter I: General Issues
This part of Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains references to acts governing impact assessments, access to environmental information, reports in the field of the environment, integrated pollution prevention and control, the eco-label scheme and the eco-management and audit schemes.
Chapter II: Water
This part of Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains acts intended to protect the aquatic environment by limiting the discharge of dangerous substances. Furthermore, it contains acts that set quality standards for water intended for human consumption.
Chapter III: Air
This part of Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains acts intended to protect the environment and human health from air pollution. The acts regulate the levels of pollutants in ambient air and the emission of certain pollutants from industries. This part also contains the Directive establishing the Emissions Trading System and the Regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Chapter IV: Chemicals, Industrial Risk and Biotechnology
This part of Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains acts intended to protect the environment and human health from the potential harmful impacts of chemicals, and to lay down rules of procedure for granting permission concerning the marketing and release of genetically modified organisms.
Chapter V: Waste
This part of Annex XX to the EEA Agreement contains acts regulating the waste sector, including rules for hierarchy in the waste sector and for the treatment of different types of waste, such as waste oils and hazardous waste.
The Working Group on the Environment closely monitors the preparatory work of the European Commission on new legislative initiatives in the fields of climate and environment. The Commission counterparties of the Working Group on the Environment is the Directorate-General for Climate Action and the Directorate-General for Environment.