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New faces affecting recycling sector at European Commission

Innovation in recycling could get a boost with the planned appointment of Slovenias Janez Potoènik as the next European Union environment commissioner. Assuming he is confirmed in the position by the European Parliament, he should start work late January.

Potoènik, a scientist, is currently EU research commissioner, where he has developed a reputation for efficiency and promoting cutting edge technology. In the new line-up for the next five-year term released by European Commission president José Manuel Barroso on Friday, another key nomination is that of Italian right-winger Antonio Tajani as industry commissioner. He would be responsible for promoting public spending on industry, which could help recyclers (as a supporter of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, he is expected to back subsidies). However, this work will be overseen by the new competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia, from Spain, a known financial hawk expected to turn off the stimulus spending taps in Brussels now the economic recovery is under way.

In a communiqué, Barroso said he wanted his new team to shape globalisation on the basis of [Europes] values and interests. Another change that could impact on the recycling sector is the creation of a new separate directorate general for climate action, that will take over much of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction work carried out by the environment directorate general. Under Barrosos plan, the new climate commissioner will be Connie Hedegaard, of Denmark. Meanwhile, a better regulation unit, which could simplify recycling laws, will be transferred from the directorate general for enterprise (under Tajani) to the Commissions secretariat-general.

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