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Lower Europe-wide targets to be discussed

The European Parliaments Council could retreat from challenging Europe-wide targets by 5% as it discusses the issue in a Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) meeting today.

MEP Caroline Jackson has urged the Council to support higher targets which gained Parliamentary support in April.

The original targets of 50% for household recycling and 70% for construction waste had been added into the Waste Framework Directive in April (MRW, April 9 2008).

However, the Council is considering lower targets of 45% for household waste and 65% for construction waste.

Jackson said: This is a very difficult issue for the Council as some Member States can meet the targets easily while others will struggle. But we must make certain that the targets are meaningful and enforceable.

An informal meeting held on Monday June 2 between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council agreed on a policy to promote waste objectives, to add in a definition of by-products and include a separate article on bio-waste. Jackson commented that the Parliament and Council are half way to a good agreement.

However, the exact wording of how EU countries will reach the targets remains an issue. Yet the Council has decided not to get around this by using tentative wording: Member States shall take measures to achieve the targets.

Jackson added: It is also important for all parties to recognise that we have come a very long way from the original Commission draft, which contained no recycling targets.

The alternative to the package now on the table is not a better package, but no package at all - a return to the 1975 directive with no targets and with none of the new definitions and clarities which the draft directive seeks to introduce. If we really want to get real on waste management and recycling, this alternative is simply not an option.

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