Astrid Nolte
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319
Wed, 29.01.2003
pte20030129053 Environment/Energy, Companies/Finance
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Eco-design project criticised
Environmental lobby says EU directive lacks clear goals

Brussels (pte053/29.01.2003/15:24) - Emerging European Commission plans for a framework directive to develop greener appliances could endanger wider efforts to develop an EU integrated product policy (IPP), according to environmental lobby European Environmental Bureau (EEB) http:// The group has threatened outright opposition to the plan unless its environmental goals are more clearly defined.

The EUE directive is "currently in a vacuum, with no clearly defined and quantified environmental objectives", the EEB said this week. "The objectives are explicitly and only based on the free movement of goods, with no mention of achieving a higher degree of environmental protection."

Melissa Shinn of EEB told Environment Daily that the EUE initiative - being drafted by the energy and industry departments - would be seen as a benchmark of the EU's integrated product policy (IPP). A weak result could compromise the environment directorate's initiative to set out an IPP strategy early this year, she said.

Meanwhile, the Commission has published responses to its most recent round of consultation on the initiative, now known as the end-user equipment (EUE) directive after a merger of earlier proposals on ecodesign and energy efficiency. They confirm the generally negative stance taken by stakeholders towards the EU merger.

The UK's industry ministry questions whether the "agenda to set energy efficiency requirements for traded goods... will not be further delayed by the negotiation of what might prove to be a complex and contentious new policy measure". It would be "helpful to the political process" for the Commission to outline possible target product sectors early, the ministry adds.

Its French counterpart goes even further: "the measure does not seem capable of meeting the specific requirements of energy efficiency". For some product groups "the overall approach risks being inappropriate". Campaign group WWF has already raised similar concerns.

Small and medium sized business association Ueapme meanwhile "deplores" the lack of a specific mention of SMEs and "will reject the proposal until this is addressed". The American Electronics Association and the US Chamber of Commerce both argue strongly against applying the requirements to product components and subassemblies, and against a mandatory life-cycle analysis for each product.

According to Environment Daily, the Commission has informally indicated it will not pursue this idea. A draft proposal text may be circulated for approval by other Commission departments next month.

Submitter: pressetext.europe
Contact: Astrid Nolte
Phone: + 43 - 1 - 811 40 - 319