EuPC: EU Single-Use Plastics Directive’s “strict timeline” makes single market fragmentation “unavoidable”
05 Jul 2021 --- European Plastics Converters (EuPC) is warning the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive’s (SUPD) legislative processes are creating “an unprecedented fragmentation among EU Member States.” The Directive came into effect on Saturday (July 3).
The Brussels-based, EU-level trade association says national legislators are currently rushing into their legislative activities to meet the “strict timeline” set at the EU level.
“The Commission should have realized the disruptive impact of the SUPD on businesses and how lengthy national legislative processes can be,” explains Alexandre Dangis, EuPC’s managing director.
“Those changes cannot be done overnight, and the fragmentation of the EU single market is now an unavoidable scenario, having severe consequences on employment and business losses in the EU.”
EuPC adds that the SUPD is a “peculiar piece of European legislation,” leaving national legislators with “considerable room for interpretation.”
Member States are developing “dissimilar understandings of many pivotal concepts,” which will eventually make it impossible to preserve the ultimate goal of EU harmonization, the association warns.
“The differences among the EU Member States are substantial, both regarding the timeline of the transposition and the content of the legislative acts themselves,” notes EuPC.
The association highlights that many countries have already proceeded to notify the European Commission of the transposition’s draft texts.
Among others, France decided to distance itself from the SUPD provisions. After gathering the feedback of many concerned stakeholders, one of the notified texts was recently sent back to the national legislator for amendment, causing further delays.
Meanwhile, Italy might be the only country to take the “questionable decision” of excluding bio-based plastic products from the scope of the transposition law.
Moreover, in Sweden, the delay appears unavoidable due to the extremely high number of responses the draft text of the national law received from the stakeholders.
Many countries like Romania and Bulgaria have not yet taken “real steps” toward the transposition.
SUPD guideline delays
The long-debated SUPD guidelines could have represented a great instrument for the Member States to build a unified framework for national transpositions, EuPC adds.
However, the guidance was only published at the end of May, one month before the deadline for transposition, causing the document to “lose its very raison d'être.”
EuPC recently warned the delayed guidelines have already resulted in “the first signs of scattered and unharmonized transposition scenarios” throughout the EU.
Dangis adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the main concern in the past year for the EU and the Member States, taking precedence over the SUPD.
“The entire world is still paying the consequences of the outbreak of the pandemic, which, in the past year, has represented the main element of focus and concern both at EU and national level,” he explains.
“Allowing a shift of the deadline as requested by our industry at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic could have granted the EU Member States enough time to properly consider all the legislative options, work on harmonization and properly exploit the clarifications provided by the guidelines.”
For EuPC, the focus is now on supporting national stakeholders seeking a fair transposition of the SUPD while trying to limit “the expected negative consequences of those unprecedented and rushed transposition processes, which is only work for lawyers and eurocrats.”
In other SUPD news, Sulapac recently appealed to EU policymakers to redefine the term “plastic” in the legislation due to definitions the company views as unclear and misleading.
Edited by Joshua Poole
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