"The European Community wishes to express its great satisfaction with the present Convention as an essential step forward in further encouraging and supporting public awareness in the field of environment and better implementation of environmental legislation in the UN/ECE region, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development.
Fully supporting the objectives pursued by the Convention and considering that the European Community itself is being actively involved in the protection of the environment through a comprehensive and evolving set of legislation, it was felt important not only to sign up to the Convention at Community level but also to cover its own institutions, alongside national public authorities.
Within the institutional and legal context of the Community and given also the provisions of the Treaty of Amsterdam with respect to future legislation on transparency, the Community also declares that the Community institutions will apply the Convention within the framework of their existing and future rules on access to documents and other relevant rules of Community law in the field covered by the Convention.
The Community will consider whether any further declarations will be necessary when ratifying the Convention for the purpose of its application to Community institutions."
“Declaration by the European Community in accordance with Article 19 of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
"The European Community declares that, in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 175 (1) thereof, it is competent for entering into international agreements, and for implementing the obligations resulting there from, which contribute to the pursuit of the following objectives:
preserving, protecting and improng the quality of the environment;
protecting human health;
prudent and rational utilisation of natural resources;
promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or world-wide environmental problems.
Moreover, the European Community declares that it has already adopted several legal instruments, binding on its Member States, implementing provisions of this Convention and will submit and update as appropriate a list of those legal instruments to the Depositary in accordance with Article 10 (2) and Article 19 (5) of the Convention. In particular, the European Community also declares that the legal instruments in force do not cover fully the implementation of the obligations resulting from Article 9 (3) of the Convention as they relate to administrative and judicial procedures to challenge acts and omissions by private persons and public authorities other than the institutions of the European Community as covered by Article 2 (2)(d) of the Convention, and that, consequently, its Member States are responsible for the performance of these obligations at the time of approval of the Convention by the European Community and will remain so unless and until the Community, in the exercise of its powers under the EC Treaty, adopts provisions of Community law covering the implementation of those obligations.
Finally, the Community reiterates its declaration made upon signing the Convention that the Community institutions will apply the Convention within the framework of their existing and future rules on access to documents and other relevant rules of Community law in thefield covered by the Convention.
The European Community is responsible for the performance of those obligations resulting from the Convention which are covered by Community law in force.
The exercise of Community competence is, by its nature, subject to continuous development."
Declaration by the European Community concerning certain specific provisions under directive 2003/4/EC
"In relation to Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention, the European Community invites Parties to the Convention to take note of Article 2 (2) and Article 6 of Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on Public Access to Environmental Information. These provisions give Member States of the European Community the possibility, in exceptional cases and under strictly specified conditions, to exclude certain institutions and bodies from the rules on review procedures in relation to decisions on requests for information.
Therefore the ratification by the European Community of the Aarhus Convention encompasses any reservation by a Member State of the European Community to the extent that such a reservation is compatible with Article 2 (2) and Article 6 of Directive 2003/4/EC."