European Parliament plenary debates tighter rules for waste and food

New, stricter rules for waste management, tighter rules for food inspections and the outcome of the recent European Council, ahead of celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome later this month, are among the issues to be dated in this month’s plenary session of the European Parliament, starting today in Strasbourg.

According to the draft agenda, on Monday the EP will discuss shareholders’ rights in EU companies. The new legislative tools will empower shareholders to vote on remuneration policy for company directors, thus enabling them to tie it more closely to the company’s performance and long-term interests.

Cyprus is among member states that continue to send more than three quarters of their waste to landfills. This Tuesday, MEPs will debate new legislative proposals aiming to enhance recycling and improve waste management.

The divergence among member states in this sector is striking. For example, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent almost zero municipal waste, that is waste from households and small businesses, to landfills.

The EP will debate four directives on reuse, recycling and landfills as part of the European policy on the circular economy. With the new rules, the share of waste to be recycled would rise to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, under draft plans to be voted on Tuesday.

MEPs also want to limit the share of landfilling to 5% while by 2030, at least 70% by weight of municipal waste should be recycled or prepared for re-use. For packaging materials such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood, MEPs propose a recycling target of 80% by 2030.

On Wednesday, MEPs will take stock of the outcome of the March 9-10 European Council and discuss the “Rome declaration” on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome with Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech and Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Draft plans to tighten up official food inspections will be put to a vote on Wednesday, after a debate on the previous day. Recent food fraud cases such as the horsemeat scandal, have shown the need for more effective action. The legislation will provide a comprehensive, integrated and more effective control system in the areas of food safety rules.

On Thursday, the plenary will vote on legislation that secures due diligence obligations for importers of minerals from conflict areas. This “conflict minerals” law will oblige EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, to do “due diligence” checks on their suppliers and aims at stopping the financing of armed groups and human rights abuses. However, small importers, such as dentists and jewelers, will be exempted.

Moreover, in the presence of High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, MEPs will debate US President Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the “global gag” rule, which obliges US-funded foreign NGOs to certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion.

Other issues in the agenda include gender equality, EU security policy one year on from the Brussels terrorist attacks and EU defence cooperation.

Source: Cyprus News Agency