Recycling row

Published: Thursday 15 May 2003

The European Commission (EC) has hauled eight member nations to court for failing to enforce a law which mandates that automobile manufacturers bear the costs of recycling used cars.

The UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Finland and Luxembourg were sued by EC Commissioner Margot Wallstroem in the European Court of Justice for not adhering to an April 2002 deadline. The EC directive stipulates that manufacturers should pay for the disposal of new cars made after July 2002. The legislation also goes a step further, requiring carmakers to pay for the recycling costs of all cars -- including their historical production -- from 2007.

Automakers have complained that the legislation is financially unviable. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association estimated that it would cost more than US $14 billion just to cover the recycling costs of all cars made since July 2002. Many of Europe's carmakers fear the legislation could lead to bankruptcy as they are already struggling in a recession-ridden market.

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