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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission urges Poland to ensure proper disposal of end-of-life vehicles

Brussels, 22 March 2012 – The European Commission is asking Poland to bring its national law into line with EU rules on proper disposal of end-of-life vehicles. The Commission is concerned about continued shortcomings and the slow pace of changes to Polish legislation. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion. Poland has two months to comply with the request. Failing this, the Commission may refer the case to the EU Court of Justice.

According to the end-of-life vehicles Directive, delivering an end-of-life vehicle to a treatment facility should not incur any costs. Car manufacturers or professional importers should organise and finance free take-back systems for all waste vehicles, except when they are delivered without essential parts, such as the engine, or if the real take-back costs cannot be recovered during disposal. This is to enforce producer responsibility and ensure that end-users and small companies do not have to contribute to the collection system. Polish legislation however asks individuals and small-scale operators (who import less than 1000 vehicles per year to Poland) to contribute an annual fee of 500zl (€ 121) to an environmental fund. The Commission considers that this amount is arbitrary, not linked with real take-back costs, and penalises small operators. Individuals importing vehicles are also asked to contribute to the collection system, while the Directive states that only car manufacturers and professional importers should be responsible.

The Commission outlined a number of gaps and deficiencies in a letter of formal notice to Poland on 14 May 2009. Although Poland has shown willingness to further change its legislation, the Commission is concerned about the pace of the changes concerning the collection system. The proposed changes have still not been adopted and as this represents a major delay in rectifying the shortcomings identified in 2009, the Commission is sending a reasoned opinion.


Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles aims to reduce the amount of waste arising from vehicles which have reached the end of their useful life. Member States have to establish collection systems and ensure vehicles are transferred to authorised treatment facilities and stripped before treatment. They must also ensure that all environmentally hazardous components are recovered. Priority must be given to the re-use and recovery of vehicle components. For more details on waste policy on end-of-life vehicles, visit:

For details about EU waste legislation in general, see:

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

See also MEMO/12/200

Contacts :

Robert Flies (+32 2 295 35 93)

Monica Westeren (+32 2 299 18 30)

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