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Government will review the law on waste

THE GOVERNMENT will discuss the new draft law on waste at its December 17 session, the Sme daily reported. Environment Minister Peter Žiga first introduced the legislation in August, but after receiving a total of 2,665 comments, he sent it for review to the European Commission.

THE GOVERNMENT will discuss the new draft law on waste at its December 17 session, the Sme daily reported. Environment Minister Peter Žiga first introduced the legislation in August, but after receiving a total of 2,665 comments, he sent it for review to the European Commission.

The EC sent its answer in early December, but marked the document as confidential.

“We received five comments of technical character and we have already implemented most of them into the law,” Žiga said, as quoted by Sme. “Therefore there is no reason to wait with the law any longer.”

The most serious issue to which the EC pointed is concern over whether the new law cannot create a monopoly in the waste management field. Slovak MEP for Freedom and Solidarity Richard Sulík voiced a similar concern.

“The law strengthens the monopoly position of company Envi-pak which has already signed an agreement with half of all municipalities,” Sulík said, as quoted by Sme.

According to its authors, the new law should strengthen the principle that “the polluter pays”. This means that the producers and suppliers of products will pay for the waste people will separate, while the municipalities and their inhabitants will pay only for the non-separated rubbish. If some organisations will want to take the separated waste and pay for it in the name of producers and suppliers of products, they will have to sign agreements with municipalities, as reported by Sme.

“The law took the business model of Envi-pak and all other firms will have more difficult access to the market,” said Michal Sebíň from Natur-pack company, as quoted by Sme.

There are altogether 13 such organisation active in Slovakia.

“Since Envi-pak represents only 15 percent of producers and suppliers, the remaining 85 percent will not be able to get to its waste,” Sebíň told Sme. “The other organisations will have to release their clients and will disappear.”

However, the Environment Ministry disagrees with such claims. It used the answer from European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, who did not exclude the possibility that the new law will favour one company, but added that in this case the EU legislation would not be violated. Žiga says that it was only a misunderstanding which they are discussing with the EC.

“The new law will not take the old agreements with municipalities into consideration, everybody will start from zero,” the minister added, as quoted by Sme.

Another organisation criticising the draft law is the Association of Towns and Villages of Slovakia which, among other things, dislikes the proposal that the municipalities should partly pay for additional separation of wrongly separated waste. It also disagrees with provisions concerning the illegal waste dumps whose number allegedly stands between 7,000 and 8,000. The law proposes that the municipalities should be responsible for them, Sme wrote.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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