European Commission to reprimand 12 states for non-compliance

Twelve European member states are subject to one or more infringement proceedings from the European Commission from allegedly failing to enact EU regulations – this was the outcome of a recent quarterly infringement meeting.

The end-of-life vehicles directive which, under EU command, was due to become legislation in member countries by April of this year, has failed to receive implementation in 10 countries. The Commission has sent ‘reasoned opinions’, the second stage in legal action and the final action before court proceedings begin, to the UK, Ireland, France Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Finland.

This directive, which attempts to prevent waste from motor vehicles and to encourage vehicle reuse, recycling and recovery, also aims to reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals within the vehicles which may obstruct safe disposal and recovery.

“It was a major advancement, when in 2000, EU countries agreed to significantly strengthen rules on the waste generated by end-of-life motor vehicles,” said Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. “This directive is designed to protect both citizens and the environment in which we all live. I therefore urge member states to correctly implement these directives rapidly,” she added.

France and Finland will receive a second warning each for failure to comply with another directive. The Waste Oil Directive demands member states give priority to regeneration of waste oils over other disposal methods. However, France and Finland have allegedly not concurred. The Commission has sent reasoned opinions to other EU countries for similar offences – the directive aims to prevent threats to aquatic life and soils which can result if carcinogenic waste oils are disposed of incorrectly.

The Netherlands is to see the Commission in the European Court of Justice for its legislation that fails to organise collection, recycling and recovery schemes for waste, as required under the packaging waste directive.

Austria is also appearing in the European court of justice, summoned by the Commission for their neglect of transposing the sewage sludge directive fully into national legislation.

Italy’s failure to adopt and communicate plans to implement the PCB/PCT directive has warranted a letter of ‘formal notice’ – the first official warning – from the Commission. This directive intends to control disposal of hazardous chemicals whose toxicity bio-accumulates.

In July all member states have received warnings from the Commission over failures in their environmental legislation (see related story).

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