States Taken to EU Court of Justice or Given Final Warning Over Waste Management

EU Commission Pulls up Member States Over Waste to Energy & Landfill Regulations

The European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their environmental and waste management obligations under EU law.

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The European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply with their environmental and waste management obligations under EU law.

The Commission explained that the decisions, announced its monthly package of infringement decisions, cover various sectors and EU policy areas, and aim to ensure the proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.

Romania in the Dock
The European Commission is taking Romania to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to review and adopt its national waste management plan and waste prevention programme, in line with the objectives of EU Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC) and the circular economy.

According to the Commission, despite earlier warnings, the Romanian authorities have failed to review and update their national waste management plan and waste prevention programme. This revision should have taken place at the latest by 2013.

The Commission initiated the infringement procedure in September 2015 and sent a reasoned opinion to Romania in May 2016, urging the authorities to promptly adopt these core instruments required by the waste legislation.

Illegal Landfills in Slovenia
The European Commission is taking Slovenia to Court of Justice of the EU for its alleged failure to close and rehabilitate 28 illegal landfills which represent a serious risk for human health and the environment.

It said that having been previously warned Slovenia has failed to take measures against 28 noncompliant landfills, as required by EU rules on landfilling (Landfill Directive, Council Directive 1999/31/EC).

Under the Directive, Member States must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste.

Slovenia was obliged to close and rehabilitate these substandard municipal and industrial landfills by 16 July 2009. However, due to insufficient progress in addressing the issue, the Commission sent an additional reasoned opinion in April 2016, urging the authorities to adequately deal with 35 uncontrolled sites, which – although not in operation – still posed a threat to human health and the environment.

While it acknowledged that some progress was made, the Commission said that for 28 landfills the necessary measures – to clean them up and close them – had still not been completed by March 2017. In an effort to urge Slovenia to speed up the process, the Commission said that it is bringing the Slovenian authorities before the Court of Justice of the EU.

Belgium Requested to Enact EU Rules on E-Waste and Batteries
The Commission urged Belgium to ensure that EU rules on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEDirective 2012/19/EU) also become effective in the Walloon region, an obligation which was due to be fulfilled by 14 February 2014.

It noted that Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU and can cause major environmental and health problems. Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources.

To improve the environmental management of WEEE and to contribute to a circular economy, improving the collection, treatment and recycling of electronics at the end of their life is essential. If the Belgian authorities fail to send a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission said that it may decide to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Commission also requested Belgium to ensure that the Walloon region brings its legislation on waste batteries and accumulators in line with the new EU Batteries Directive (Directive 2013/56/EU), an obligation which was due to be fulfilled by 1 July 2015.

Again, if the Belgian authorities fail to send a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may decide to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Finland Requested to Enact EU Waste Rules
The Commission said that it is urging Finland to complete the enactment of EU waste legislation into its national laws. The Directive on waste (Commission Directive (EU) 2015/1127) sets out a list of operations for the recovery of energy from waste.

It also noted that local climate conditions in the EU influence the amounts of energy that can technically be used or produced by incineration facilities dedicated to the processing of municipal solid waste.

The Directive thus establishes conditions for these facilities based on their energy efficiency, which is calculated by using a climate correction factor. Member States had to bring into force national measures to comply with this law by 31 July 2016.

According to the Commission the Finnish mainland has not transposed its provision on climate correction factor, justifying it by Finland's climatic conditions. Based on existing evidence, the Commission said that it finds no justification for lacking transposition.

Following a letter of formal notice it sent in September 2016, the Commission said that it is now sending a final warning. If Finland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Poland Called on to Enact EU Waste to Energy Regulations
The Commission also requested Poland to fully enact EU waste legislation into its national laws. The Directive on energy from waste.

As Poland has still not transposed its provisions, and the timetable for adoption of national measures is remote and tentative, the Commission said that it has decided to issue a final warning.

If Poland fails to act within two months, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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