MEP's get tough on landfill directive

European Parliament committee opposes Council of Ministers' changes to proposal

The European Parliament's environment committee has set the institution on collision course with the Council of Ministers yesterday on the thorny issue of waste landfilling. In a report adopted yesterday on the draft EU landfill directive, the committee voted to reinstate a series of European Commission proposals which the Council of Ministers deleted or loosened in their December political agreement (ENDS Daily 11 December 1997). On the key issue of targets to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable waste, the committee voted for the Commission proposal of a reduction to 75% of the 1993 level by 2002 rather than 2006 as agreed by ministers. Along the way, it called for a tightening of the requirement by deleting the words "as far as possible" from the text. Many MEPs are angry with the Council of Ministers for having reached a political agreement on the directive before the Parliament has issued its formal opinion, and for weakening the Commission's proposal. However, observers describe the committee's response as "measured" rather than radical, thus maximising its chances of being adopted by the full Parliament in a vote expected in March.

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