Writing for Electronic News, John F. Mason says Malta has had little time to figure out how to adjust itself to the overwhelming changes required by the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directives and to transpose them into Maltese law:
The 10 member states that joined the EU in 2004 have been granted a 24-month deadline extension for two aspects of the directives. Instead of having to ensure that 4kg of e-waste are collected per citizen per year by Dec. 31, 2006, they have until Dec. 31, 2009. The same extension is valid for industry for recovery, reuse, and recycling. The main deadlines are, nevertheless, the same as for all EU states, which means that Malta should have transposed both directives by Aug. 13, 2004.
Lack of compliance never results in trade sanctions or anything of that nature. The breach does -- and did -- result in the Commission's taking Malta to court. "We are presently waiting for a judgment by the European Court of Justice," the Commission official said. "If the European Count of Justice confirms that Malta is breaching EU legislation and Malta still doesn't fix the problem, we will have to send Malta two official warnings and can then ask the Court to impose a fine. However, it is very rare that a procedure reaches the final stage and that fines are imposed -- in the environmental field, it has been the case only two or three times."..
In spite of its pending transposition of WEEE to law, Malta has not been asleep regarding the problem of waste disposal. In November 2002, the government established a company, WasteServ Malta Ltd., to organize, manage and operate integrated systems for waste management including integrated systems for minimization, collection, transport, sorting, reuse, utilization, recycling, treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous waste. Part of the organization's solution has been to export waste to destinations outside the Maltese islands...Last month, to speed up the process, the EU gave WasteServ Malta 400,000 euros to buy technical assistance from Germany...