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We are also already being contacted to provide an informed opinion of the transposition process by the some of the national officers that attended our event. The Rapporteur stresses that there are various pathways to achieving high collection and recycling rates and a reduction in litter, including deposit-refund schemes or extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes; underlines that the choice of a certain scheme remains within the remit of the competent authority in the Member State, which can take local specificities into account and ensure that any existing well-performing and cost-efficient systems are not jeopardised; 2.

The Rapporteur does not support the idea of an EU plastic tax.

He is also eager to stress that fiscal policy remains a Member State competence, and therefore opposes the introduction of an EU-wide plastics tax as a potential own resource stream for the EU. On quality standards, he refers to Eu Cert Plast but also calls on an independent third party certificate, suggesting the QA-CER certification scheme, developed by the Belgian Quality Association, as a model to follow.

The ensuing exchange of views with the attachés was moderated by EXPRA’s Managing Director, Joachim Quoden.

The event concluded with bilateral conversations between our members and their representatives over Bulgarian wine-tasting.

Others included members of the European Commission and the Council of the EU.

The Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Environment and Water, Ms Atanaska Nikolova, also joined us during the networking part to greet our members and support our role in the circular economy.

Dear Reader, I do sincerely hope that you had some time to enjoy the Easter holidays, despite the busy period and the ongoing debates and discussions around the CEP, EU Plastics strategy and expected possible new legislation.

It looks again that we will have a very busy spring and summer - the CEP is already approved by the Council, while the European Commission is reported to be working on drastic measures against certain waste items, including a Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive proposal as well as suggesting a tax on all plastic packaging that is not recycled.

We also strongly believe that any new legislation should be consistent with the CEP as well as feasible and realistic and are actively working with all major stakeholders in Brussels to secure this. The meeting was organized outside Brussels due to the related event with the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Of course in this process we are relying on networking and joining forces with like minded associations in order to provide for a sound and realistic legal framework which will contribute in practice for a genuine Circular economy and best performing EPR systems. The kind hospitality of EXPRA Bulgarian member – ECOPACK Bulgaria was appreciated by all participants - 22 of 26 members of EXPRA came to Sofia to discuss the current topics.

The latter took place in the National Archaeological Museum and was organised alongside the Bulgarian Presidency as part of the official agenda of the EU’s Informal Environmental Attachés meeting.

National representatives from Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Hungary, Slovenia, France, Lithuania, Spain, Croatia, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Portugal, Czech Republic, UK and Malta were present at the event.

Our 5 Anniversary thereby found its way into a forum that offered an innovative format for debate.