On Wednesday morning, EU member-state negotiators and the European parliament agreed to prohibit a number of single-use plastics. The announcement was made, on behalf of the European Council, by its Austrian President.
Last May, the Commission had proposed to prohibit by 2021, ten or so plastic disposable products (including cotton buds, plates, cutlery, straws, sticks for balloons, stirrers and other items) for which there is already an alternative solution. With fishing gear targeted, the single-use plastics in question represent 70% of marine waste found on European beaches.
In record time, the European parliament and the Council were able to agree legislation to this effect. The provisional agreement drawn up should be endorsed in a plenary session of the European parliament and the Council.
The MEP Frédérique Ries (Reformist Movement/Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe grouping in the European parliament), said, “Citizens are only expecting one thing from the European Union. It must adopt an ambitious directive against single-use plastics responsible for ‘suffocating’ the seas and oceans. This has already been done with our agreement made at 6.30 a.m. this morning. It will enable the reduction of the bill for environmental damage of €22 billion – the cost of plastics pollution in Europe through to 2030.” Ries led the team of negotiators from the European parliament.