EU member states’ ministers expressed concerns about the planned withdrawal of the proposals on waste and air quality in a lunch discussion with the Commission's Vice-President Frans Timmermans on Tuesday. Latvia, the current holder of the Council presidency, had also stated it was ready to continue work on both proposals at the meeting of the General Affairs Councils, which consists of the member states’ ministers of foreign or European affairs or their representatives.
However, the conclusions on the Commission’s 2015 work programme adopted by the Council on Tuesday do not explicitly refer to the circular economy package and the proposal for amending EU waste legislation which the Commission intends to withdraw in order to table a new proposal before the end of year.
The Council merely “takes note of the list of envisaged withdrawals and modifications, while recalling its role and the role of its Presidency in setting the agenda and organizing legislative work in the Council. The Commission's approach of thoroughly reviewing the relevance of pending proposals is in line with the general objective of better regulation, despite possible divergences of view on specific legislative files.”
Whether the message sent by the Council is strong enough to make the Commission change its mind about the withdrawal of the waste proposal remains to be seen. The EU authority would “formalise” the withdrawal of the proposal after the Council had commented on the work programme, according to remarks made by Karl Falkenberg, Director-General of the Commission's Environment Directorate, in the EU Parliament's Environment Committee in late January.