An informal meeting between the Commission, the Presidency and a delegation of MEPs took place last week in an effort to reach a deal on amendments to the revised Waste Framework Directive.

MEPs had backed targets of recycling 50% of household waste and 70% of construction waste by 2020.

But the Council had rejected this in favour of 45% and 65% targets respectively, and has suggested wording that will not make the targets legally binding.

Incineration would also be reclassified as “recovery” under the Council’s proposals, and the setting of prevention targets will be delayed to 2014.

Campaigners are concerned that MEPs are wavering on their tough stance and preparing to agree to the Council’s proposals.

Dr Michael Warhurst, of Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “We live in a world under a massive climate threat and increasing pressure on resources, yet EU governments are trying to avoid making substantive commitments to prevent waste and increase recycling.”

He added: “If the deal is accepted, we will look back on this moment as a failure in the political will to make achievable and beneficial changes.”

Nathalie Cliquot, waste policy officer for the European Environmental Bureau, said: “The deal must be rejected and the complete decision-making process used to establish enforceable and effective targets which match the urgency of the climate and resources threats.”

ACR+, the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management, urged MEPs to stick to their original targets.

Its research found that the 50% target for household waste by 2020 was already being exceeded in many cities and regions of Europe.

The second reading of the revised directive in Parliament will take place during its next plenary session, from June 16 to 19.

Kate Martin

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