EU Opposes Plan to Scrap Environment Law

EU Opposes Plan to Scrap Environment LawEU Opposes Plan to Scrap Environment Law

European environment ministers opposed plans on Wednesday from the EU executive to scrap draft laws on waste and air quality, saying they sent a "negative signal" about Europe's ambition to curb climate change and were at odds with a push for growth, Reuters reported.

The European Commission on Tuesday laid out its legislative plans for 2015 with a promise to focus on priorities such as jobs and boosting the economy. As part of a drive to cut red tape, it plans to withdraw some proposals made by the previous EU executive, including on air quality and cutting waste.

Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti of Italy, holder of the rotating EU presidency, summing up a debate of the 28 member states, said a majority of ministers believed legislation on waste was an "absolute priority".

Eleven environment ministers have written to the Commission voicing their concern, including Germany as well as Italy, which has spent much of its six months at the helm working on the waste package.

Sections of innovative industry, such as electrical goods maker Philips, have also given their support to laws to shift to an economy based more on recycling and reduced waste.

Galletti has just returned to Brussels from U.N. talks in Lima, which at the weekend made modest progress towards a new global deal on climate change, meant to be reached in Paris at the end of 2015. He said the withdrawal of the draft law on waste in particular "would be contrary to what we did in Lima".

Britain, nervous over the rise of Euroscepticism, was a lone voice in support of the Commission's work plan. David Lidington, Britain's Europe minister, issued a statement saying he welcomed the aim to scrap "a number of costly and unnecessary draft laws" and it would help business.

Critics counter there is no logic in starting an already lengthy process from scratch.