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Cyprus warned again over plastic-bag usage

Cyprus has infringed two EU directives and may face legal action for it if it does not take the necessary steps, the EU commission said on Wednesday.

In a press release outlining all June infringements for EU member states, Cyprus was listed as having received a ‘reasoned opinion’ for not complying with EU waste legislations laws and not implementing a directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information.

A reasoned opinion is the last step before the Commission may take the member state to the EU Court of Justice if it does not comply within usually two months.

According to the statement, Cyprus, along with Greece, Italy and Poland, have continuously failed to notify the Commission on what measures they will take to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags as required by the Plastic Bags Directive (Directive (EU) 2015/720.

The measures should have been put in place by November 27, 2016, the Commission said and can include measures ranging from charges or levies to national reduction targets.

“Member States must ensure that no more than 90 of these bags are consumed per person a year by the end of 2019. By the end of 2025, that number should be down to no more than 40 bags per person.

“Both options may be achieved either through compulsory measures or agreements with economic sectors. It is also possible to ban plastic bags provided those bans do not go beyond the limits established by the Directive in order to preserve free movement of goods within the European Single Market.”

Cyprus, along with Greece, Italy and Poland have two months to reply to the reasoned opinion.

The second EU directive Cyprus has infringed according to the Commission, concerns EU rules on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information.

Member states should have implemented the Directive 2014/95/EU by December 6, 2016 however Cyprus, Spain and Ireland have failed to notify the Commission of the measures they will use to do so.

“Financial and non-financial reporting provides shareholders and other stakeholders with a meaningful, comprehensive view of the position and performance of companies,” thus if the member states do not take the necessary steps to implement the directive within two months, the Commission may refer them to the EU Court of Justice, the press release said.

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