Environmental liability treaty nears completion

A new Europe-wide convention on civil liability for environmental damage is about to enter its final drafting stages and is expected to be opened for signature next year. The Convention would impose liability on the operators of specified dangerous activities for damage which they cause to the environment, but for EC countries a crucial question will be whether the European Commission bases any legislative proposals in this area directly on the Convention or opts for a different and more harmonised approach.

The Convention on Civil Liability for Damage Resulting from Activities Dangerous to the Environment has been drafted over the past four years by the Council of Europe, a pan-European organisation of democratic states. The Council's members include the EC and EFTA countries, but with recent additions from the former Soviet bloc its membership now stands at 27.

Over the next few months a high-level legal affairs committee is expected to put

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