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15.01.2015

EU Commission work programme

MEPs back EU waste and air rules in spite of shambolic vote

The European Parliament today voted on a series of resolutions representing its response to the draft work programme of the European Commission for 2015. Political squabbling meant that in the end none of the draft resolutions was actually adopted, however a majority of MEPs expressed support for maintaining draft EU legislation on air quality and waste and resource use in specific votes (1). The vote took place against a controversial background, with the European Commission having mooted it would withdraw key legislation that had already been proposed but not yet finalised. Commenting after the vote Greens/EFA vice-president Bas Eickhout said:

"While today's vote on the Commission work programme was a shambles and reflects poorly on the European Parliament, a clear majority of MEPs expressed their support for maintaining the proposed EU legislation on air quality and waste and the circular economy. The message the European Commission must take from this vote is that these proposals must be maintained.

"Clearly, it is shameful that the Parliament was not capable of adopting a resolution setting out its position in response to the Commission's work programme, particularly given the context and the attention focused on the work programme this year. We can only hope this is not a portent of the coming term, with the two largest groups paralysing decision-making in the European Parliament.  

"Axing crucial social, environmental and health legislation is not 'better regulation' it is an ideologically-biased sop to polluting industry lobbies, which is totally at odds with the public interest but also with commissioner Timmermans' sustainability brief. The better regulation agenda must aim to ensure we prioritise legislation that responds to citizens' demands: better air quality and a safer and more sensible waste management system clearly fulfil this criterion. Instead of giving these proposals a stay of execution, which will only encourage those who want the proposals scrapped to further filibuster, the Commission should be fighting tooth and nail to ensure these crucial laws are adopted."

(1) Separate votes on paragraphs in the different resolutions expressing support for the proposed waste/circular economy legislation and the air quality legislation were supported by a majority of MEPs.

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Richard More O'Ferrall

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