|Keith Aschenbrenner of Auditorium 23 forwarded the following fax communique that was issued by the HighEnd Society of Germany to its members. I've roughly translated it and kept the ironic undertones of the original intact:
EU to outlaw High End audio
On May 23, 2005, the EU congress ratified the EuP protocol which mandates that products consuming energy during manufacture must document the raw materials and energy consumed during production, usage and eventual recycling. Above average products may no longer be sold in the EU. Accordingly, high-end Class A valve amplifiers will be illegal. Ditto for loudspeakers with stone or other heavy cabinets. Welcome to a future of cheap mass market crap in plastic housings plagued by short life expectancies, naturally all biodegradable.
EU undermines free market economy for small concerns
EuP protocol is based on the German WEEE electronic waste law. Because each EU member nation operates according to its own implementation of the EuP guidelines, every vendor must be registered separately with the electronic waste authorities in each of the countries he intends to do business in. Besides the horrendous costs involved, this requires operating a company office in said countries. Say good-bye to small specialty manufacturers and their products. EU has effectively closed their access to its own markets, all, needless to say, in the name of environmental protection.
ElectroG renders employees unemployed
Thanks to the current electronic waste law in effect since March 2006, responsibility for recycling has moved from communal bodies to the central Elektro Altgerate Register [Registry of aged electronic equipment]. No longer is recyclable trash sorted communally by kind but discarded in five large groups and thrown into containers to be destroyed such that future use is impossible. Specialists engaged in the repair or methodical disassembly of electronic reject products are no longer supplied with repair or disassembly jobs. Instead, they are greeted by containers full of trash and refuse. Very environmentally conscious.
Electronic life expectancy lawfully shortened
Starting 7.1.2006, electronics trafficking in the EU can't include certain substances like lead. Alas, lead is vital for quality solder joints and circuit longevity. Lead-free tin develops crystal fractures that lead to short circuits. Not only does this shorten the product's life cycle, it also consumes more energy during production because solder temperatures must be increased. Considering that hunters dump more lead into the environment than recklessly discarded electronics, one suspects that actual usage of entertainment electronics is quite uncommon with the politicians who author these farsighted regulations.
Do you get the impressions that our German friends in the HighEnd industry find the new EU regulations any more sensible than foreigners trying to establish export to the EU? The above information is provided merely for entertainment and reference. I'm not in a position to confirm or deny any specifics.