Commission to propose framework directive on eco-design rules

The Commission is currently drafting a new proposal on eco-design of end use equipment. Many stakeholders are doubting the usefulness of this proposal.

The draft framework directive aims to establish the conditions
for the setting of eco-design requirements through implementing
measures.

These implementing measures will be decided by the Commission
assisted by a regulatory Committee without undergoing the
codecision procedure. They will either be generic or specific to a
certain type of product and might introduce quantitative targets
for energy consumption in the production and use of appliances.

The framework directive foresees that eco-design requirements
can only be set for products which represent a significant volume
of sales and trade in the internal market and involve a significant
environmental impact at European level which can be improved.

The Commission expects the industry to play a big role in the
development of eco-design rules by inviting them to propose
voluntary agreements. According to Commission sources, the lack of
precision of the wording “End Use Equipment” will be adressed by
replacing it by energy using equipment in the next draft proposal.
The sector of transport will remain excluded, except if the Council
and the Parliament decide to include it.

 

Industry considers that this new framework
directive should not lead to increase red tape for producers. It
claims that "Whenever market forces prove to be effective in
achieving environmental goals, no implementing measure should be
laid down".

AmCham, the EU Committee of the American Chamber of
Commerce,
stressed that the relationship of this proposal
with a number of other policy instruments is unclear:

  • the EU strategy for an Integrated Product Policy should be
    fully elaborated before further consideration is given to a future
    EUE proposal,
  • there are substantial differences between EUE and the two other
    drafts which preceded it.
  • WEEE & ROHS Directives: These directives will regulate the
    design and recycling of electronics and impact on design and
    production facilitating dismantling, recovery and re-use of
    products, materials and components. The need for the EUE is
    therefore unclear.

The environmental movement stated "the EUE
directive is currently in a vacuum, with no clearly defined and
quantified environmental objectives. The essential ingredients for
success appear to be missing, most notably what environmental
objectives the proposal aims to achieve for which equipment and
with what stakeholder involvement."

 

In November 2002, DG Entreprise launched a consultation on a
framework directive on the eco-design of end use equipment (i.e
equipment that is dependent on energy input: electricity, oil,
gas). This framework directive is constituted by the merge of two
initiatives - the EEE (impact on the environment of electrical and
electronic equipment) and the EER (energy efficiency
requirements).

The proposal for a directive on Eco-design of End Use Equipment
is part of the development of an integrated product policy and aims
to demonstrate how such integration can be achieved in practice for
equipment using energy. Eco-design aims to reduce the overall
impact environmental impact of the product throughout its whole
life cycle thanks to the systematic integration of environmental
aspects into product design.

The legal basis for this proposal, put forward by DG Enterprise,
is the article 95 of the EC Treaty (establishment and functioning
of the internal market).

 

  • DG Enterprise is currently drafting a new proposal following
    the public consultation;
  • According to Commission sources, the inter-services
    consultation will soon be launched and the draft directive should
    be proposed to the College of Commissioners in March 2003;
  • The Commission is expected to adopt a Communication on the way
    forward to IPP in the first part of 2003.

 

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