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Brussels Briefing on Environment – All you need to know for March 2016

March 9, 2016 - Environment

The burning question on everyone’s lips earlier this week was: ‘what will happen to glyphosate?’. This controversial herbicide was expected to see its EU license renewed by member states for another 15 years, but the vote was called off at the last moment. The controversy lies in the divergence of opinion between the World Heath Organisation – which has ruled that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic – and the European Food Safety Agency, which has concluded that it is not. Still on chemicals, Commission will present for a vote an amended proposal to member states on the use of toxic phthalate DEHP in recycled PVC on 16 March.

On 4th March, EU environment ministers met in Brussels to discuss the Paris Climate Agreement and its follow-up. They were divided in their views on how Europe should react to COP21: some, such as Germany, called on the Commission to ratchet up the EU’s climate ambitions for 2030; others, such as Hungary, said they saw no need to re-open this debate today. The Commission itself defended its decision not to propose a review before 2023. European heads of state and government will now discuss this at their summit on 17-18 March.

The circular economy was also on the council’s agenda. While most ministers stressed the importance of eco-design rules, some remained sceptical over the realism of recycling targets. The Dutch Presidency expects to finish a first run-through of all the circular economy proposals with member state experts in early March. It also still hopes to see the NEC directive finalised under its mandate. A second trialogue is scheduled for 4 April. Sonja van Renssen has the story.

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