Facilitating shipments of waste for reuse and recycling in the EU, not exporting waste challenges outside the EU and addressing illegal shipments of waste, are crucial for the European Union to adequately manage waste shipments in a clean and more circular economy and to avoid losses of valuable resources that can be recycled in the EU.
The European Commission recognises the steel industry as a priority sector for transitioning to a circular and climate-neutral European economy. Therefore, it is essential that export of waste does occur only when comparable environmental, health and social conditions exist between the EU and third countries, and only when those conditions are verified with certainty.
Significant improvements are necessary to ensure that the proposed measures are implementable, effective, and that no risks of fraud or circumvention arise. The different treatment between OECD and non-OECD countries, and the subsequent fact that certain destination countries may be exempted from having to demonstrate the extent to which they meet these essential conditions, is contrary to the spirit of the reform and could undermine the whole system.
In this regard, the legal presumption applied to OECD countries is not justified in view of the Commission impact assessment, while this approach creates a risk of discrimination among facilities of third countries. Moreover, the legal presumption applied to OECD countries is in breach of the coherence and effectiveness principles under Better Regulation. Lastly, the safeguard procedure for OECD countries merely addresses potential issues due to sudden increase of waste flows, therefore it constitutes a breach of the proportionality and subsidiarity principle.
The proposed requirement that exporters carry out audits of the facilities where exported waste will be processed is welcome, however it is vital that the scope of those audits is defined with more clarity.
In particular, auditing standards should be defined in the legislative text, while the audit should be performed by an EU-based independent and accredited third party. Regular reporting and transparency requirements should apply, and an effective system of complaints should be included as well.
Moreover, a careful evaluation is necessary to ensure that additional administrative burden will not hinder intra-EU shipment, while a three-year transition period before the entry into force of the new requirements is excessively long as far as ferrous scrap is concerned.
Extended version updated on 18 January
Brussels, 07 December 2023 – The inclusion of transformative industrial technologies for the decarbonisation of energy-intensive sectors, such as steel, in the list of net-zero technologies in the general approach adopted by the Council on the Net Zero Industry Act (NZIA), sends a positive signal at a crucial time when governments are deliberating urgent measures to protect the climate at COP28 in Dubai. Parliament and Council should now seize the opportunity to reach an ambitious agreement to promote EU-made green products in public auctions of net-zero technologies and to drive Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) in Europe. Promoting lead markets and CCUS are essential tools for sustaining the transition to low-carbon steelmaking, says the European Steel Association.
Brussels, 01 December 2023 – Further delays in implementing EU sanctions against Russian steel semifinished products would have a perverse effect, ultimately fuelling Putin’s war machine against Ukraine. The EU Council should reject additional exemption requests from a few member states defending the lucrative business model of few steel rerollers. The trade dynamic that takes advantage of cheap steel imported from Russia while aiding the supply to its military and related downstream sectors must come to an end, states the European Steel Association.
Industriall & EUROFER joint statement