German MEPs "threatening" EU scrap car law

Greens claim EPP rapporteur, Socialist shadow, influenced by Germany's car industry

Two MEPs who are playing a key role in scrutinising the draft EU end-of-life-vehicles directive want to "kill" the legislation because they fear it would harm the German car industry, the parliament's Green/EFA group alleged today. The claim is being echoed in private by European Commission sources and environmental groups as the parliament prepares to debate the law at second reading tomorrow.

The parliament's rapporteur on the directive, Christian Democrat Karl-Heinz Florenz and his Socialist shadow Bernd Lange are both German. Unusually, the two MEPs are now supporting similar, and in one case identical, amendments to the directive. These would weaken its recycling targets and spread the costs away from producers alone.

Green MEP Hiltrud Breyer - who is also German - said today that the "only aim" of the rapporteur and his shadow was to "kill the directive". According to the Greens, the amendments tabled by Mr Florenz and Mr Lange would not be accepted by EU governments if passed, so the parliament and the Council of Ministers would have to hold conciliation talks. Following agreement, the parliament would then be able to reject the directive outright with a simple majority rather than the larger absolute majority otherwise required. This is the scenario being targeted by the two MEPs, the Greens claim.

In response, the Greens are planning to vote against all amendments to the directive, including any that would strengthen rather than weaken it. This was the only way to increase the chances of the law being endorsed at all, said Green MEP Alexander de Roo.

According to the Greens, "shameful" lobbying from German industry had "been successful" in shaping the current debate. The group claimed that the fate of the directive was vitally important for future directives applying the producer responsibility principle to areas such as electrical and electronic waste.

Follow Up:
Greens/EFA, tel: +32 2 284 4683; European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111; European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111.

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