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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

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Commission Report [COM(98) 69 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(1999) 508 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2000) 708 final - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1751 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1407 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Commission Report [COM(2003) 675 final - SEC(2003) 1206 - Not published in the Official Journal]

Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 236 of 23.09.2003]


The first Report underlined that Malta would have to make substantial efforts in order to bring its legislation into line with the environmental acquis. A detailed programme would have to be prepared for legislative transposition and for implementation and enforcement. Investment plans for environment-related sectors would have to be clearly focused on the implementation of the acquis.

In its 1999 Report the Commission noted that considerable work was still required in all sectors of the environment.

In its November 2000 Report, the Commission highlighted the fact that there had been no progress on implementing the acquis in any environmental sector.

The November 2001 Report indicated that progress had been made on alignment but not on increasing administrative capacity.

The October 2002 Report noted that transposition had progressed well, but that work to step up Malta's administrative capacity had only just begun. Implementing legislation still needed to be adopted to complete transposition in several areas. Close attention needed to be paid to implementation of the acquis.

The November 2003 Report indicates that Malta, for the most part, is complying with the environmental undertakings made in the accession negotiations (concluded in December 2002). If the country steps up its administrative capacity in all areas, it should be able to implement most of the environmental acquis by 1 May 2004, the date of its accession to the Union.

The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.


The aim of Community policy on the environment, as set out in the Treaty on European Union, is to ensure sustainable development based on the integration of environmental policy into Community sectoral policies, preventive action, the "polluter pays" principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source, and the sharing of responsibility. The Community acquis consists of some 200 legal instruments covering a large range of fields, including air and water pollution, the management of waste and chemical products, biotechnology, radiation protection and nature conservation. The Member States are required to ensure that an environmental impact assessment is carried out before granting authorisation for the carrying out of certain public or private projects.


Horizontal legislation has been transposed and is in line with the acquis, except as regards provisions on the environmental impact of strategic activities. These provisions have to be transposed before July 2004. The Maltese authority responsible for the environment and planning must step up its efforts to implement the acquis. A Regulation on freedom of access to information on the environment and several amendments to the Development Planning Act have been adopted.

As regards air quality, legislation which is in line with the acquis has been adopted. There has as yet been no alignment of the provisions on the sulphur content of liquid fuels. Air quality plans and programmes must be drawn up and applied. Administrative supervisory capacity must be increased. The Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol have been incorporated into Maltese law. A transitional period up to December 2004 has been adopted for emissions of volatile organic compounds from the storage and distribution of oil.

Malta is continuing the alignment of its water quality legislation. By 1 May 2004, transposition of provisions on drinking water and bathing water as well as the most recent legislation on water has to be completed. An action programme and a code of good conduct on nitrates must also be adopted. The same applies for programmes on stockpiles of dangerous substances. There is still no designated authority in the field of water. Coordination between competent bodies must improve. Transitional periods have been granted for urban waste water, drinking water and stockpiles of dangerous substances. They run until March 2007, December 2005 and March 2007 respectively.

With regard to waste, the legislation has been transposed and is in line with the acquis, with the exception of certain provisions on packaging and end-of-life vehicles. The waste management plan must conform to the Community acquis. A system for monitoring waste transport, a register of end-of-life vehicles and conditions for the authorisation of discharges have still to be established. Waste collection systems have to be developed further. A list of collection points and authorisations to stockpile used oil have to be introduced. Malta must continue building installations for the recovery and disposal of waste. Administrative capacity in the waste sector must be stepped up. A transitional period has been granted until December 2009 for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste.

As regards pollution control and industrial risk management, transposition has been completed and the legislation is in line with the acquis, with the exception of provisions on major accident risks. These provisions must be adopted before accession. A civil protection law has been adopted. Regulations were adopted in 2002 on integrated pollution prevention and control and on the limitation of certain pollutants from large combustion plants. Nevertheless, a strategy for the approval of installations subject to integrated pollution prevention and control conditions has still to be drawn up and the permits have to be issued. The administrative capacity for issuing permits and inspections has to be stepped up. A transitional period until December 2005 has been granted for certain large combustion plants.

As regards radiological protection, the legislation has been adopted and is in line with the acquis, apart from provisions on medical exposure. This legislation has to be adopted before accession. A regulation on supervision and control of shipments of radioactive waste was issued in December 2001.

With regard to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemicals, the legislation has been transposed and is in line with the acquis, except as regards biocides. Malta has signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. Product safety legislation came into force in March 2001. A Chemicals Control Board was established in 2002. Coordination between the bodies concerned needs to improve.

With regard to nature conservation, the necessary legislation has been transposed. However, there are still no lists of sites of Community importance and special protection areas. The adoption of these provisions as well as implementing measures must be completed before the accession of Malta to the Union. There needs to be greater compliance with legislation on birds. The national committee "Ornis" should draw up an implementing strategy. A hunting control commission has been set up. Moreover, the collection of data must be finalised so that hunting periods can be defined on a scientific basis. A transitional period until 2008 has been decreed for the use of clap nets to capture seven finch species.

As regards noise, legislation has been adopted which is in line with the acquis.

Malta has to do a great deal to significantly increase its general administrative capacity in the environment field before 1 May 2004, the date of its accession to the Union.

Malta is participating in the European Environment Agency.

Negotiations on this chapter have been closed.

Last updated: 13.02.2004