EEA Bldg2.jpg The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union (EU) established to function as a major source of information and data to be used in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy by its member European countries.[1]

The EEA was established by Regulation 1210/90 adopted in 1990 by the European Economic Community (EEC),[2] which subsequently became a part of the EU in 1993. The EEA became operational in 1994 and it is currently headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark with 209 staff of 2013.[3]

The same EEC Regulation 1210/90 that established the EEA also established the European Environmental Information and Observation Network (EIONET) and the EEA is charged with coordinating with the EIONET.[4]

The primary clients of the EEA are the member countries of the EU as well as the major institutions of the EU: the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. In addition to this central group of EU policy makers, the EEA serves other EU institutions such as the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.

The EEA does not initiate or implement any air quality or other environmental standards or emission ceiling limits. That is done by the European Commission, specifically by their Commissioner of the Environment and Environment-Directorate General.[5][6][7[[8]

Countries in the EEA

The 33 member countries of the EEA include the 28 European Union member states together with the five countries of Iceland,Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. The six cooperating countries are the western Balkan countries of: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

The 28 European Union member states are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Governance of the EEA

The EEA is governed by a Management Board and a Bureau, with a Scientific Committee in an advisory capacity.[9][10][11] The basic characteristics of each of these governing bodies are discussed briefly below:

Management Board

The Management Board is the decision making body of the EEA. The Board decisions include: adoption of annual and multi-annual work programs, annual reports and other strategic documents, approval of the EEA’s budget, appointment of an EEA Executive Director and an accounting officer, election of a board chairperson and vice-chairpersons, and designation of Scientific Committee members.

The Management Board consists of representatives of the 33 EEA member countries, two representatives of the European Commission and two representatives designated by the European Parliament. Each member of the board may be represented by an alternate member. The Board members are all high-level official within their nation's environmental ministries.

The Management Board chairperson and four vice-chairpersons are elected from amongst the Board members for a term of three years. The Board normally meets three times a year.[12]


The Bureau is composed of a chairperson, up to five vice-chairpersons, one European Commission representative and one of the members designated by the European Parliament. The Bureau is entitled to take executive decisions, necessary for the effective operation of the EEA, in-between meetings of the Management Board.

Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee advises the Management Board and the EEA's Executive Director. It has three major tasks:
  • To deliver an opinion on the EEA multi-annual and annual work programs.
  • To provide advice to the Executive Director regarding recruitment of the EEA's scientific staff.
  • To provide advice and/or opinion on any scientific matter concerning the EEA's activity, which the Management Board or the Executive Director may submit to it.
The Committee members are independent scientists from the EEA member-countries, covering a variety of environmental fields related to the EEA's activities. The Committee membership shall not exceed 20 experts. The members are chosen through an open selection process and appointed for a four-years term, renewable once.

Organization of the EEA

An Executive Director, appointed by the EEA's Management Board, manages the day-to-day operations of the EEA assisted by a deputy director and a staff group known as the Executive Director Office (EDO).[3]

There are seven major working groups in the EEA, each having certain subgroups:
  • Administrative services
    • Personnel management
    • Resource and document management
    • Financial and logistics services
    • Accounting services
  • Biodiversity, spatial analysis and scenarios
    • Biodiversity and ecosystems
    • Spatial analysis
    • Scenarios and forward studies
  • Communications
    • Multi-media communications
    • Media, editing, launches and public relations
    • Information Centre - public events and enquiries
  • Environmental services
    • Climate change and energy
    • Air and transport
    • Water and agriculture
  • Governance and networking
    • Management Board, Eionet and Scientific Committee support
  • Information and data services
    • Publications, web and program support
    • IT networking and data flow
    • Data access and management
    • Information technology
  • Strategic knowledge and innovation
    • Sustainable consumption and production
    • Science, policy and innovation
    • International and regional cooperation

European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change Mitigation

The European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) assists the EEA in its support of European Union policy in the field of air pollution and climate change.[13] It is a consortium of 14 European institutions, established in 2001 by the EEA, with an annual budget of about 2 million Euros. The Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP) act as the lead institutions.

The ETC/ACM reports on the progress of EU environmental policy on air pollutant emissions,[14] air quality and climate change issues. In addition, the ETC/ACM participates in relevant reports issued by the EEA, collects data concerning the current state of the environment and harmonizes European air quality monitoring networks and reporting obligations.

The ETC/ACM also maintains an online copy of the Model Documentation System (MDS)[15] which is a catalog of most of the air quality and air pollution dispersion models[16] developed and/or used in Europe. The MDS catalog listings include the name, description and support contacts for each model as well as other pertinent technical details. The MDS was developed at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece.


1. The EEA official website ( )
2. EEC Regulation 1210/90 ( )
3. EEA Annual Report 2013 and Environmental Statement 2014 ( )
4. European Environmental Information and Observation Network (EIONET) ( )
5. The Commissioner of the Environment ( )
6. The Environment Directorate General ( )
7. Air Quality Standards ( )
8. National Emission Ceiling (NEC) Directives ( )
9. The Management Board ( )
10. Management Board Rules of Procedure (ROP) ( )
11. Scientific Committee ( )
12. Meetings ( )
13. European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) ( )
14. EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook-2006 ( )
15. MDS - Model Documentation System ( )
16. M.R. Beychok (2005), Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion, Fourth Edition, ISBN 0-9644588-0-2 ( )