Stoiber High Level Group – VERE Association reports on SME burdens in the electronic industry

VERE Association establishes itself as speaker for the SME and contact in politics and commerce

Brussels/Hamburg – On May 3rd, 2012 the VERE Association for the take-back and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (VERE e.V. registered association) gave an overview to the High Level Group in Brussels on the administrative burdens of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in the electronic industry which result from the requirements and obligations of the European environmental laws.

The aim of the High Level Group is to avoid dispensable administrative loads of European enterprises, the improvement of the European competitiveness and the preservation of the environmental and commercial targets intended by preserving the EU legal provisions. The SME are in the focus since compared with groups they neither possess the technologies nor the staff in order to reduce the administrative burden. Since 2007, the group is run on a voluntary basis by the former Bavarian Prime Minister and the former CSU chairman Dr. Edmund Stoiber.

VERE Association establishes itself as speaker for the SME and contact in politics and commerce

Since the High Level Group is interested in the actual impacts of the implementation of European laws on enterprises and entrepreneurs in the member states of the EU, the VERE Association was invited to make a practical description of the consequences for the SME in particular when implementing European environmental and product responsibility laws in national laws. At this, the VERE Association was represented by the chairman Mr. Oliver Friedrichs. VERE represents the interests of 2'400 SME of the electrical and electronic industry of 30 countries worldwide regarding the implementation of the law for Electrical and Electronic Devices in Germany. The association of producers at Hamburg forwards the concerns of SME at the political level since more than nine years and most recently created a highly frequented forum to exchange ideas between the SME and high ranking representatives of the politics and commerce with the panel event "Product responsibility – a solvable challenge?" on November 17th, 2011 in Berlin. Thus the VERE Association is progressively establishing itself being the speaker for the SME and contact in political and commercial questions.

The VERE chairman Oliver Friedrichs describes practical experiences of the SME when implementing the European environmental law

The audience noted with interest the speech of Mr. Friedrichs who described the comprehensive administrative burden which small enterprises need to cope with when implementing the requirements from Brussels in a legally compliant way. At this, Friedrichs mainly emphasized the transborder commerce with goods at which the enterprises in each country of the EU have to deal with the individual national rules. Furthermore, he explained that in particular the SME are showing a high acceptance and willingness regarding their environmental and product responsibility but they are often overstrained with the execution of the numerous rules. "Besides the early procurement of information regarding the often changing rules due to revisions of the laws and deviating administrative practices are leading to enormous difficulties. The SME do not dispose of the resources in order to continuously follow the current legal position", said Oliver Friedrichs in Brussels. "Although associations such as VERE are offering comprehensive support in the execution and procurement of information. However, the scope of action of the increasingly globally acting SME is becoming more and more intransparent due to the extension and overlapping of EU legislation", continued Friedrichs.

SME burdens using the ElektroG as an example

Furthermore, the philosophy of warnings in the online trading was addressed with the example of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG). The ElektroG is the German implementation of the WEEE directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) of the European Parliament and of the council which regulates the professional recycling of electrical and electronic devices in the EU and its financing by the manufacturers. Mr. Friedrichs described the discrepancy between the difficult information procurement and the anticipatory wave of cease-and-desist letters of individually specialized lawyer's offices which took place in 2005 when the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act was implemented. As a result at times up to 50'000 hearings regarding administrative offence proceedings were received by the Federal Environmental Agency the supervisory authority which is responsible for the implementation of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act. The following development of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act has proven that the number of administrative offences decreased due to the progressing information on the obligation to register all concerned manufacturers.

Including the SME in legislative procedures at an early point in time

In order to avoid such mistakes in the future Oliver Friedrichs suggested to integrate interest representatives of the SME such as for instance the VERE Association with its 2'400 affiliated companies in the legislative procedures at an early point in time. Therefore, VERE is further on at the disposal of the Stoiber High Level Group in order to be able to make use of the practical experiences of the affiliated members.

About the VERE Association

- Founded in 2003 in Hamburg
- Currently 2’400 members
- Board: Jochen Stepp, Oliver Friedrichs

The VERE Association for the take-back and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (VERE e.V. registered association) represents the interests of more than 2’400 small and medium-sized companies even at political level, being the organization of suppliers, manufacturers, trade associations and individual persons for implementation of the ElektroG in Germany having a largest number of members.

Business Fields: By “take-e-way” the VERE Association assumes the implementation of requirements and obligations in conformity with the law according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act (ElektroG/WEEE), Battery Act (BattG) and Packaging Ordinance (VerpackV) for medium-sized companies in Germany and abroad.

About the High Level Group (Stoiber Group)

- Founded in 2007 by the European commission
- Currently 15 members
- Chairman: Dr. Edmund Stoiber

The High Level Group (Stoiber Group) was founded in 2007 by the European commission in order to implement and realize the "Action program to reduce the administrative burdens in the EU". The chairmen of different committees who stand up for reducing the bureaucracy at the level of the member states as well as representatives of the industry and SME, trade unions as well as environmental and consumer organizations disposing of comprehensive experiences in the field of better lawgiving rank among the high ranking and independent members of the group.

By means of the action program the administrative burdens resulting of the EU legislations and their implementation and realization and the national measures should be reduced by 25 percent until 2012. For this purpose the program has defined 13 prevailing fields, among others the field "Environment" in which it is possible to reduce the administrative burdens up to 21 percent respectively 242 million Euros in the view of the European Union.

To do so, the commission is consulting organizations which are directly confronted with the obligations resulting of the EU legislations and it exchanges best practices with national administrations and the SME in order to counteract high-flying regulatory requirements.

Press Contact

VERE Association for the take-back and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (VERE e.V. registered association)
Christoph Brellinger
Organisational Communication & Public Relations
Liebigstraße 64
22113 Hamburg

Phone: +49 (0)40/750687-111
Fax: +49 (0)40/750687-101

Christoph Brellinger

Christoph Brellinger
Executive secretary

Phone: +49 40 750687-200