EU electroscrap law heads for parliament

Rapporteur Florenz says producer responsibility, retroactivity, can no longer be challenged

European Commission plans to make manufacturers pay for recycling of existing and future electronic waste are unlikely to be opposed by the European Parliament's rapporteur, it has emerged. Having battled against the principles of producer responsibility and retroactivity in the end-of-life vehicles directive, the assembly's rapporteur MEP, Karl-Heinz Florenz now says that that he will accept them in the electroscrap law.

Speaking to ENDS Daily, an aide to Mr Florenz said that the MEP "still has problems" with producer responsibility but "doesn't want to reopen the issue as it won't get support. He accepts that [both principles] are accepted by a majority in the parliament and in governments."

The aide said Mr Florenz's experiences with the end-of-life vehicles directive, which saw EU governments' views win through during final "conciliation" negotiations, had convinced him that a precedent had been set and that the principles now "cannot be challenged." Instead, he said, Mr Florenz would "concentrate on making them feasible."

The Commission's proposals aim to increase waste recovery and recycling rates and introduce bans on some substances in manufacture (ENDS Daily 13 June). After starting out as a single legislative proposal, two separate draft directives finally emerged. In a paper prepared for a seminar held in Brussels yesterday, however, Mr Florenz says he "strongly considers reintegration of the two proposals."

His aide told ENDS Daily today that the MEP would prefer a single law to be based on both environmental and single market articles of the EU treaty, but that basing one combined law on the environmental article 175 would better than having two separate laws. The significance of this would be that member states would have greater leeway to introduce stricter controls if they wished.

The paper sets out several other preliminary positions on the proposals: recovery and recycling targets are "too soft"; producers should be free to finance the treatment of "historical" waste produced before the directive enters force through a "visible fee" on new goods; producers should be free to set up individual and collective arrangements for financing and treating new waste; and bans on two brominated flame retardants should not be extended to all halogenated retardants.

The aide stressed that Mr Florenz had not yet arrived at fixed views and was likely to table amendments to the directives in early December after a public hearing in the parliament on 19 October.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111.

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