mediterranean sea after dark 224.88.
(photo credit: Jonathan Beck)
The EU’s European Commission executive branch issued a proposal late last week
that the EU accede to the 1994 Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean
Sea against pollution from offshore fossil fuel exploration and
Israel signed the protocol in October of that year but has
not yet ratified.
Implementation of the Offshore Protocol, which was an
amendment to the 1976 Barcelona Convention Mediterranean Action Plan, would
require that oil and gas rigs in the Mediterranean comply with international
standards and practice, and that they not receive authorization from local
governments if they might adversely affect the environment.
the only country to have signed the protocol are Croatia, Cyprus, Greece,
Israel, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria and Tunisia, while the only
ones to have ratified that same protocol are Albania, Cyprus, Libya, Morocco,
Syria and Tunisia. The EU has yet to sign or ratify the
Ratification, according to the European Union, refers to
making a practice officially part of a country's legal system, while a signature
simply requires the country to refrain from committing acts that would impinge
upon the objective of a given treaty. The countries that had ratified the
protocol all put their legislation into force this past March.
proposal complements the legislative proposal for the safety of offshore oil and
gas activities. It will allow us to work hand in hand with our non-EU
Mediterranean partners, ensuring better protection of this sea for all its
users,” European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said in a
If the EU ratifies the protocol, other parties to the
Barcelona Convention that also have not yet acceded to the measure are more
likely to join in the ratification, something that is necessary to safeguard the
Mediterranean from offshore accidents, according to the EU statement.
original Barcelona Convention, which called for comprehensive regional
protection of the Mediterranean marine environment, has since 1976 been ratified
by the European Union, Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus,
as well as 14 non-EU Mediterranean countries including Israel.
to ratify the protocol, the country first would need to amend its domestic
legislation to be compatible with that of the EU, a representative from the
Environmental Protection Ministry told The Jerusalem Post,
noting that, for
example, Israel currently does not have legislation regarding waste disposal at
sea. However, the representative explained, Israel is drafting legislation that
would incorporate all the provisions of the protocol into its domestic
The EU move to ratify the protocol is essentially irrelevant to
progress in Israel to do the same, as the country was already working on the
legislation required to meet protocol standards before the EU’s position was
known, the representative said.