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Coherence please! That’s what WEEE want…


16 Mar 2011


Climate & Environment

Brussels, 15 March 2011

Late yesterday evening, the Environment Council adopted the political agreement in the latest stage of the recast of Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE).  Orgalime and the industries it represents note   that a more commonsense approach to the recast scope has prevailed for the short term.  The Hungarian Presidency and Council members arrived at a delicately balanced agreement to maintain the closed scope for a six year period, to allow for an impact assessment to be carried out to judge whether the scope needs amending and whether the suggested reshuffle of scope categories which industry sees as just burdensome makes sense.  Said Adrian Harris, Director General of Orgalime “There has been intense dialogue between the stakeholders concerned and, indeed, we said on the occasion of the European Parliament plenary vote at the beginning of February, that we were unsure if the glass was half full or half empty.  Now, the issue for European engineering is to arrive at something which is manageable by our industry and takes into account the considerable investment that our companies have made into compliance with the existing WEEE Directive.  In addition the focus of the parties concerned, to end up with a set of rules that are enforceable is also encouraging, although this aspect still needs working on in the area of scope, collection rate, registration and producer definition”.


The Council’s proposal goes some way to correcting what the industry  felt had become, in certain areas, an extremely complex regulatory reshuffle which would have brought further unnecessary legal uncertainty to engineering companies in the pursuit of their obligations.  Orgalime invites the institutions to carefully consider the impact of their decisions with a view to securing a more acceptable and easily manageable recast.  


Orgalime, which had not seen an overarching necessity to embark on yet another change in the regulatory environment affecting companies with the recast of the WEEE and RoHS Directives, highlighted that the recovery of the European economy remains fragile and that the framework conditions for companies operating in Europe needs to improve in order to prevent a drift of industrial investment overseas.  “It really is essential that regulators learn to fully appreciate that the constant chopping and changing of the regulatory environment in the EU carries with it a considerable cost in terms of investment for compliance; where this is justified, this is understandable, but all too frequently the regular reviews of legislation which are meant to allow minor adjustments, turn into major overhauls which are hardly proportionate to the benefits they are claimed to bring. This is just sending the wrong signal investors at a time when we in Europe should be making efforts to convince them that the EU is a prime investment location with a manageable and coherent framework.” added Harris.




Mark Redgrove

Head of Communications


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