OPP Meeting Summary: EP ITRE Committee – Implementation of the Ecodesign Directive (22 January 2018)

A summary of the Committee’s consideration of the draft opinion is now available. 

EP ITRE Committee – 22 January 2018
Implementation of the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC)
– Consideration of draft opinion
– View related documents and the next stage of the procedure in the Policy Pipeline

Chair Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL) made the following introductory remarks

  • the Ecodesign Directive from 2009 set the minimum requirements for improving the environmental performance of households.

Rapporteur Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR)

  • the implementation of the Ecodesign Directive touched various aspects such as energy, climate change and circular economy;
  • in her view, it was necessary to include more consumer durables in the scope of the Directive, especially ICT products which were sold in large quantities. She noted that there was a whole Ecodesign potential for smartphones and similar products;
  • criteria for Ecodesign also needed to be lightened. Resource efficiency was one of the main parts, as well as circular economy and health;
  • the main criteria were durability, repairability and recyclability;
  • a monitoring framework was needed, as well as an independent body which approved the certification (third party certification), as she did not believe in a voluntary system;
  • the investment framework also needed to be strengthened in order to give incentives to the Member States (MS).

Massimiliano Salini (EPP, IT)

  • the Ecodesign Directive was working well and served its objectives;
  • he agreed with the Rapporteur regarding the need of keeping consumers at the centre of the Directive, but in his view the industry also played a crucial role, and eventual corrections to the Directive needed to make sure that the latter were given enough incentives  to keep complying with the rules;
  • concerning the circular economy criteria, they were still complicated, and he warned about the introduction of extra criteria that would further increase production costs or administrative burdens for the industry and could result in higher prices for consumers.

Xabier Benito Ziluaga (GUE/NGL, ES)

  • his group supported the opinion but they wanted to incorporate a few extra points to take things further;
  • they would like to extend the sustainability concept from environment to ethics and social economy, which meant reviewing the use of resources, especially water, and emissions;
  • regarding energy consumption, the MS should be responsible of monitoring the compliance with the Directive;
  • as far as materials were concerned: biological and biodegradable materials needed to be used;
  • due to scarcity, water use needed to be optimised in the production chain;
  • an expansion of the scope was also needed. If they wanted to be ambitious, transport needed to be brought in.

Jaromír Kohlíček (GUE/NGL, CZ)

  • he agreed with the main criteria mentioned by the Rapporteur: durability, repairability and recyclability. He also thought that smartphones needed to comply with those criteria: for instance, it was unacceptable that certain smartphones were sealed and their reparation was difficult, therefore he would be pleased to see products like that brought under the scope of the directive;
  • there were three types of plastics that should not be combined. A combination of Polyethylene, Polypropylene and another type of plastic could not be recycled;
  • biodegradability was a very important principle, especially when it came to paper packaging. He gave the example of a German law about this and he suggested that other MS should follow.

Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU)

  • according to a study from Berkeley University, Dieselgate was likely to happen to connected white goods. He asked the Commission whether they had thought about this and how they could prevent it;
  • he believed that Ecodesign was also an export strategy for Europe, and he asked the Commission whether they were doing something to be a global pioneer;
  • he asked the Commission whether they were planning to conduct an overhaul of the Ecodesign Directive during the current mandate or if they were going to wait for the EP elections in 2019.

A representative from the European Commission made the following remarks

  • the Commission agreed with the Rapporteur about the importance of regulating ICT products and their resource efficiency and circularity;
  • the criteria should deliver both for the environment and the consumer, and it should be possible to see them applied to the product;
  • durability and repairability needed to be measured on the product and this would have benefits for the consumers;
  • even though the Rapporteur asked the Commission not to have a ‘package approach’ (because of the lengthy process), he said that it was necessary to tackle the miscommunication that had been a big issue in the Directive;
  • 1 € spent on market surveillance could save consumers 1000 €, therefore he agreed that more cooperation with MS was needed in this matter;
  • third-party certification was not necessarily something that could deliver better results. The US had it, and it was not getting better results than Europe;
  • he agreed with Massimiliano Salini (EPP, IT) on the need to protect industry and to incentivise the producers who wanted to invest in quality-products;
  • concerning Xabier Benito Ziluaga (GUE/NGL, ES)‘s issue raised with regard to water, he agreed on the fact that optimisation was needed and he gave the example of the revision of the regulation on washing machines and dishwashers which was coming up soon;
  • concerning Claude Turmes (Greens/EFA, LU)‘s first question on connected modern goods, he said that the EP and the Parliament had added that to the area of energy-labelling and the Commission would look into it but it was a very difficult subject;
  • they were working on the export strategy for Europe at all levels. They had been addressing small importers, as well as global ones, and he gave the example of a conference held in Bogotá recently where the Commission had been invited to speak on the topic of energy-labelling;
  • concerning the last question, he said that the current Commission was not planning to conduct an overhaul.

Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR)

  • the issue had repercussions on public health and the environment, therefore the Commission had to make sure that there would be a clear timeline;
  • overall, she was glad that it had been a constructive debate.

Chair Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL) made the following closing remarks

  • the deadline for tabling amendments would be the 25th January at 12.00 pm;
  • the ENVI Committee (lead on the file) would vote on the 25/26 April 2018. The vote in Plenary would be scheduled for May/June 2018.

Source: One Policy Place

The simultaneous interpretation of debates provided by the EU institutions serves only to facilitate communication amongst the participants in the meeting. It does not constitute an authentic record of proceedings. One Policy Place uses these translations so this text is only a guide and should not be relied on as an official account of the meeting. Only the original speech or the revised written translation of that speech is authentic.

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