Europe's environment ministers reached an agreement before Christmas on phasing out the use of cadmium and setting recycling targets. But cadmium is only to be banned in portable applications, with further exemptions for those used in power tools.
And the EEB's review of the Dutch presidency, which ran for the last six months of 2004, expressed the pressure group's disappointment with the batteries agreement.
"Unfortunately, during the last phase of negotiations, other member states undermined the already limited scope of substitution, reducing the phase out to a mere 15% of total cadmium battery applications," the report concluded.
"The level of environmental protection of the political agreement as it now stands is low and sends a very hesitant political signal towards investors in new and alternative technologies."
The agreement sets collection targets for all member states of 25% of all batteries four years after the Batteries Directive is transposed and 45% after eight years.
The EEB report added: "The presidency successfully introduced collection based on consumption. But producer responsibility as it stands is far from allowing individual producers to pay less for end-of-life treatment of less toxic batteries."
The European Portable Battery Association had called for a "fair deal" from the EU, with "achievable recycling and collection goals".
Overall, the EEB found that the Dutch presidency "managed to achieve concrete results in a number of important areas".
The exemption of batteries used in power tools from the cadmium ban is to be reviewed after four years.