The legal framework in Europe evolves continuously. Regulations are implemented at national level, but the Europe Commission greatly influences the policy, especially onshore. Offshore, regional conventions, such as OSPAR for the North-East Atlantic still play a leading role.

There is not a single measure which can claim to have dramatically changed the way environmental issues are now regulated in Europe. But the sum of recent measures has substantially modified the still dispersed regulatory framework. And there is no doubt that this ground swell will continue to act in the near future: the Europe Commission already greatly influences most of the onshore policy. Offshore, regional conventions, in particular OSPAR, still play a leading role, but probably for a limited time. The industry has to adapt to that changes which do not relate any more solely to end-of-pipe constraints and techniques, but require a dramatic change in the approach of these issues, to identify and anticipate as early as possible the new technical challenges.

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