Cablegate: Environment Could Be Sticking Point in Croatia's

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

141401Z Sep 04




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Environmental protection issues seem certain to be
a major sticking point in Croatia's EU membership
negotiations. With the European Commission playing an
ever-smaller role in environmental policy priority setting,
the chaotic distribution of environmental responsibility
among Croatian ministries and agencies and disinterest on
the part of local governments could slow the negotiating

2. (SBU) Implementation remains the largest concern.
While Croatia might reasonably expect to receive long
transition periods for environmental approximation based on
the experience of the 10 newest members, the GoC will still
have to demonstrate that the appropriate legislation exists
and that it has a concrete plan for implementation. Based
on the starting point, the environmental chapter of the
acquis could be among the hardest to close. END SUMMARY

3. (SBU) Responsibility for environmental policy is diffuse
by EU standards; according to contacts in the EC delegation
to Croatia, the Ministry of Environment has competency for
just about 50% of EU environmental directives. The
Ministries of Health, Transportation, Agriculture, and
Economy also have authority over pieces of environmental
policy. This chaotic division of labor makes it extremely
difficult to judge to what degree Croatian law tracks with
the environmental acquis. Moreover, the GoC has not
completed any systematic review of existing Croatian
environmental legislation.

4. (SBU) As EC CARDS assistance to Croatia wraps up this
year, environmental assistance will reappear as pre-
accession aid once the Commission releases Croatia's pre-
accession strategy in October. CARDS funding for current
projects -- legislative approximation, drinking water
quality monitoring, and waste management -- will expire
this year. Though environmental priorities (air quality,
water quality, and industrial pollution control) are
unlikely to change after CARDS, Croatia will have more
responsibility in terms of priority setting and will have a
co-financing requirement on all projects. According to our
contact, the EC does not push its environmental priorities
but finds the GoC receptive to their suggestions.


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