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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission asks five Member States to comply with EU waste framework directive

Brussels, 16 June - The European Commission is asking five Member States to comply with the EU Waste Framework Directive. The Member States concerned are Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece and Poland. These Member States have failed to inform the Commission about the transposition of this legislation into national law, which should have happened by 12 December 2010. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. The Member States have two months to comply. If they fail to do so, the Commission may refer the cases to the EU Court of Justice and ask the Court to impose financial penalties, without having to return to the court for a second ruling.

The EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC sets the legal framework for waste treatment 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.

Under a new policy, in cases where Member States have failed to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may ask the Court 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 2011.

More follows


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.

In January, the Commission opened infringement proceedings against 23 Member States for non-compliance with the Waste Framework Directive. Of the original 23, 19 cases remain open, of which seven others (in addition to the five announced today) are also at the Reasoned Opinion stage (see IP/11/595).

Further information

For current statistics on infringements in general:

More details on EU waste policy:

See also MEMO/11/408

Contacts :

Joe Hennon (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 295 06 68)

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