Green Paper on Market-Based Instruments for Environment and Related Policy Purposes - July 2007

Green Paper on Market-Based Instruments for Environment and Related Policy Purposes - July 2007

PRO EUROPE, Packaging Recovery Organisation Europe, welcomes the Commission's initiative to launch a discussion on advancing the use of market-based instruments (hereby referred to as MBIs) in the European Community for environment policy purposes. In particular, PRO EUROPE welcomes the European Commission willingness to stimulate exchanges of experience and best practice on MBIs between Member States and encourage a harmonised approach across EU.

PRO EUROPE agrees that, if appropriately applied, MBIs can simultaneously afford a high level of environmental protection and cost-effective compliance. In order to avoid that MBIs give raise to obstacles to the internal market and distortions of competition, the European Union should put in place EU guidance setting out harmonised criteria for the use of MBIs. As witnessed in the waste management sector, the existing Community legal framework has been abused through supposedly environmental measures which in fact aimed at protecting national businesses or raising revenue for public budgets, causing de facto considerable trade barriers and competition distortion. There must therefore be a clear link between the MBIs adopted and the environmental aim being pursued.

Successful alternative MBIs, such as producer responsibility-based systems, could be further taken into consideration. These systems have indeed proven to be more effective in triggering environmental improvement than taxation. In the area of packaging, they have allowed the fulfilment of the EU recovery and recycling targets (set up in Directive 2004/12/EC) in a cost-effective and flexible way.

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