Council and Parliament disagree on packaging waste

The EU’s environment ministers reached a political agreeement on the review of the packaging and packaging waste directive during their Council meeting of 17 October. The Council’s position postpones the date for complying with stricter recovery and recycling targets to 31 December 2008.

The Council’s agreement sets lower recycling targets than the
ones demanded by the European Parliament (55 per cent minimum and
80 per cent maximum – the EP wanted 65 per cent minimum). The
ministers also want these targets to be met three years later than
what the MEPs wished for (31 December 2008 instead of end 2005).

Further elements of the political agreement:

  • Greece, Ireland and Portugal get an extra four years to achieve
    the recycling and recovery targets;
  • a maximum target of 80 per cent for recycling of packaging
    waste and no maximum target for recovery;
  • minimum targets for the recycling of specific materials: 60 per
    cent for glass, 60 per cent for paper and board, 50 per cent for
    metals, 22.5 per cent for plastics and 15 per cent for wood;
  • the Commission to report by the end of June 2005 on the
    progress of the implementation.


Netherlands and Belgium did not support the
agreement which was adopted by a qualified majority. Both countries
wanted stricter targets and earlier deadlines.


The Commission proposed in December 2001 a limited review of
Council directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. This
directive aims to harmonise national measures on the use of
packaging waste to ensure the smooth functioning of the internal
market while at the same time providing a high level of
environmental protection. The Commission's proposal was limited to
a revision of the recycling and recovery targets. The figures
proposed by the Commission are 55 per cent for recycling and 60-75
per cent for recovery.

In its first reading of the Commission's
proposal on 3 September, the Parliament adopted the report of its
rapporteur Dorette Corbey (PES-NL) and asked for even stricter
targets to be met by 31 December 2006 (see



The Environment Council will adopt a common position at its
forthcoming meeting in December. The proposal will then be sent to
the Parliament for a second reading. If the Parliament sticks to
its previous demands, a difficult concilitation can be expected.


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