A meeting of country representations agreed on two changes to the deadlines in the directive, in a compromise that satisfied all but the German delegation, who voted against the proposal, and the Dutch, who abstained. However, the qualified majority is enough to take the proposal on, and the Presidency is confident it will be approved by Ministers by written procedure before the summer break, a spokesperson told edie.

Under the new agreement, the proposed start of 1 January for the producer’s responsibility and the consumer’s right to hand over his end of life car to a treatment plant without charge, has been changed to 1 January 2001 for new cars and to 1 January 2006 for cars already on the market. Also, the date when car recycling targets must be met was delayed by one year, from 2005 to 2006.

The Directive was expected to have been approved in last June’s Environment Council, but was blocked by the German Presidency, backed by the UK and Spain (see related story).

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