Not much progress on implementation of end-of-life vehicles Directive

On 27 January, the Parliament’s Environment Committee held a question and answer session with the Commission to find out that the end-of-life vehicles Directive, whose implementation deadline passed already in April last year, has still not been transposed into national law by more than half of the Member States.

The end-of-life vehicles Directive (ELV Directive) was adopted in September 2000 with a view to preventing waste and promoting the collection, re-use and recycling of car components to protect the environment. The Directive sets clear targets for reuse, recycling and recovery of vehicles and their components, and it pushes car manufacturers to take into account also the cars' recyclability.

The Directive should have been transposed into domestic law across the EU by 21 April 2002. It requires manufacturers to take back ELVs at no cost to the last owner ("free take-back") by 1 July 2002 for all new vehicles put on the market, and by July 2007 for existing vehicles.

On 27 January, the Commission informed that at present, only five Member States (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands) have taken steps to apply the ELV Directive. Three other countries, namely the UK, Finland and France, have announced that they will have measures in place by this spring to implement the Directive. The remaining seven Member States have given no indication of when they will implement it.

The UK, Finland and France had received a so-called "Reasoned Opinion" (or second written warning) from the Commission in October 2002 to adopt national laws concerning end-of-life vehicles. The same request was sent to Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Portugal. If the Member States fail to comply with the Reasoned Opinion, the Commission can decide to bring the case before the Court of Justice.

A number of MEPs complained that the Commission fails to punish Member States for not complying with EU laws, and voiced their disgust that a fine had only ever been imposed on a Member State in one case (the "Greek fine" imposed ten years after a breach of EU waste legislation).



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