1. The Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directive is an important step forward in European environmental law. Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment entered into force on 21st July 2001 and has to be implemented by Member States before 21st July 2004. Article 1: "The objective of this Directive is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the reparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that, in accordance with this Directive, an environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

  2. In Germany the Ordinance on Organic Solvents (Ordinance on the limitation of emissions of volatile organic compounds due to the use of organic solvents in certain facilities ? 31st BImSchV.) entered into force. By this the European Directive 1999/13/EG has been converted into national law. For new industry plants the ordinance becomes immediately valid, for existing facilities there is a transitional period lasting till 2007. The target is to lower the emission of organic solvents during their application by further 250,000 tons every year. The ordinance covers different activities such as varnishing, printing, and gluing as well as textile cleaning or the production of shoes and medical drugs, whenever their consumption of solvents exceeds a sectoral limit.

  3. The last phase of realization of the environmental requirements for large combustion plants has been completed. In the New Laender all the power stations and cogeneration plants driven by fossil fuels (coal, gas, and oil) with an output of more than 50 megawatts which have not been modernised must be shut down. Thus one of the most successful measures of melioration of air quality in the New Laender has been finalised.