Danish firm in court over WEEE wrangle

The complicated legislation over the authorisation of the export of electronic waste has landed a Danish firm in court.

Case C-215/04, Pedersen

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its Judgement in case C-215/04 on 16 February 2006. The case came before the ECJ following a reference by the l'Østre Landsret (Denmark) in a case between Marius Pedersen A/S (an undertaking authorised to collect electronic scrap, established in Denmark) and the Miljøstyrelse (Environment Agency), concerning transport to Germany of that waste for recovery.

The case concerned the interpretation of Articles 2(g), 6(5) and 7(1), (2) and (4)(a) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community.

The case arose following a request by Pedersen for authorisation from the Danish Environment Agency to transport 2,000 tonnes of electronic scrap to its partner undertaking established in Germany, for the purposes of recovery.

The Agency refused to authorise the transport on the ground that Pedersen had failed to supply it with various items of information necessary for it to consider the request for authorisation.

On 22 May 2001, Pedersen brought an action before the Østre Landsret (Eastern Regional Court), taking the view that it had provided sufficient material to enable the Miljøstyrelse to issue the authorisation requested and considering that the period within which objections could be raised had expired and therefore, it was entitled to proceed with the transport of waste which was at issue in the main proceedings.

Within the Judgement, as well as giving consideration to the phrase 'where this is not possible' in Article 2(g)(ii) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93, the Court held that the competent authority of dispatch is entitled, pursuant to Article 7(2) and the first indent of Article 7(4)(a) of Regulation No 259/93, to object to a shipment of waste in the absence of information on the conditions of recovery of that waste in the State of destination.

However, the notifier cannot be required to prove that the recovery in the State of destination will be equivalent to that required by the rules in the State of dispatch. It was also held that the first indent of Article 6(5) of Regulation No 259/93 must be interpreted as meaning that the obligation to supply information relating to the composition of the waste is not satisfied by the notifier declaring a category of waste under the heading 'electronic scrap'.
Finally, it was held that the period in Article 7(2) of Regulation No 259/93 begins to run when the competent authorities of the State of destination have sent the acknowledgement of receipt of the notification, irrespective of the fact that the competent authorities of the State of dispatch do not consider that they have received all of the information set out in Article 6(5) of that regulation. The effect of the expiry of that time-limit is that the competent authorities can no longer raise objections to the shipment or request additional information from the notifier.

The full text of the judgement can be found in English here.

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