EU environment ministers manage to reach common position on WEEE and ROHS directives
The most controversial issue in this debate was the demand to combine the two directives into one text based on the same legal basis (environmental instead of internal market). Four delegations (UK, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands) were opposed to merging the two directives. The Council decided to stick to two separate directives, but allowed Sweden and Denmark to maintain their stricter national measures.
Other elements of the Council’s common position:
– on the WEEE Directive:
- Governments should try to reach a non-binding collection target of 4 kg per inhabitant per year – to be reached within 36 months from the entry into force of the Directive(Parliament wanted 6 kg).
- Producers can choose to pay individually for recycling or share costs with others (Parliament urged mandatory individual responsibility for producers).
- System for collection of WEEE and financing to be set up within 30 months of entry into force of the directive. Exemption from financing requirements for small independent manufacturers with fewer than 10 employees and a turnover of less than 2 million euro for a transitional period of 5 years.
- strong targets for reusing and recycling to be reached within 46 months (50-75 percent instead of 60-85 as proposed by the Parliament). Ireland and Greece get two more years to comply because of their “recycling infrastructure deficit”.
– On the ROHS Directive:
- Ban on dangerous substances to come into force in 2007 (Parliament wanted 2006 – Commission 2008).