European Commission circular economy package under the spotlight of legislature
According to the Dutch Presidency website, EU Environment ministers are scheduled to agree on the recently proposed European Commission circular economy package in June.The majority of environment ministers believe that the European Commission’s updated circular economy package is an improvement on the previous one taking into account the Member States different levels of development especially in relation to recycling targets. The package consists of 5 pieces of proposed legislation amending the directives on Waste Framework, Packaging and Packaging Waste, Landfill, WEEE, and End-of-life Vehicles Directives among others. In addition, the Commission Communication entitled Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy completes the package. The new package is not without criticism in the Council, some Scandinavian countries remain critical of the proposals having wanted to see a total ban on recyclable material being sent to landfill, something that the Commission proposal chose to exclude. The previous package was criticised by many Eastern and Southern Member States for its ambitious targets. Some Member States have expressed concern over definitions of ‘recycling’ and ‘recovery’ and ‘preparation for reuse’ with ‘reuse’ itself calling for more concrete measures are needed to establish sustainable production and consumption models.
The Dutch Presidency is also pressing for the circular economy package to involve the other Councils. Ministers from a wider range of policy responsibilities must now be involved in the circular economy debate. Industry agriculture, energy and competiveness ministers will be involved. Agriculture ministers will also adopt a joint position on food waste in June. The Commission did not adopt a target for reducing food waste as part of the circular economy package but the EU aims to comply with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of halving food waste by 2030.Energy ministers will meet in June to discuss new strategies due from the Commission next year on heating and cooling and on liquefied natural gas as well as plans for a new energy market design. The Competitiveness Council will also discuss the related ‘REFIT’ programme of regulatory fitness checks, such as the current reviews of the Nature Directives and chemicals laws and have an initial discussion with the European Commission over its 2017 work programme.
However, entry into of the new laws requires codecision and given that MEPs have been generally pushing for higher targets, with member states struggling on the whole to reach the Commission's proposed targets any agreement between both houses may slip beyond the Dutch Presidency.
EIB to lend further on circular economy projects
15billion so far - Promoting a circular economy is high on the EU policy agenda because of its potential to boost competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The EIB is a major partner for circular economy investments in the EU, and has during the last 10 years co-financed projects worth EUR 15bn. We are now ready to further support the EU transition towards a circular economy.