Brussels, 19 May 2011
Environment: Commission asks six Member States to comply with EU waste framework directive
The European Commission is asking six Member States to notify the transposition of the EU Waste Framework Directive into national law due by December 2010. The Member States concerned are France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. The Member States have two months to comply. If these Member States fail to comply with their legal obligation, the Commission may refer the cases to the EU Court of Justice and ask the Court to impose financial sanctions already at this stage.
The revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC sets the legal framework for the treatment of waste in the EU. It introduces waste management principles such as the "polluter pays principle" and lays down a binding waste hierarchy that requires Member States to manage their waste in the following order of priority: prevention, reuse, recycling, other recovery and disposal.
Member States had to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive by 12 December 2010. As the Member States concerned did not notify the Commission of all the implementing measures in time, a letter of formal notice was sent. Since the legislation has still not been adopted, the Commission has decided to send a reasoned opinion. If these Member States do not take appropriate action within two months, the Commission may refer them to the EU Court of Justice.
Under new policy in cases where Member States have failed to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission can now ask for financial sanctions to be imposed at the first referral to Court. This policy was adopted in November 2010 and entered into force on 15 January 20111.
The amount of waste generated in the EU is constantly growing, with 3 billion tonnes of waste generated each year. In order to decouple growth from waste generation, the Waste Framework Directive sets a legal framework for waste treatment within the EU. The legal framework aims at protecting the environment and human health through the prevention of the harmful effects of waste generation and waste management.
For current statistics on infringements in general:
More details on EU waste policy:
See also MEMO/11/312
Communication on the Implementation of Article 260 (3) of the Treaty (OJ C 12,15.1.2011, p1)