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Sustainable Development and circular economy to move to the core of the economic agenda of EU according to this week’s work programme for 2018 published by the European Commission

In its latest 2018 work programme published this week (24/10) the European Commission has signaled a focus on two key issues under its jobs and growth agenda for 2018 - Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy.  On sustainable development, the work programme proposes issue a Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030, on the follow-up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change" (non-legislative, Q2 2018)  The reflection paper comes as the Commission prepares to launch its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) multi-stakeholder platform that will be chaired by First Vice President Franz Timmermans.  The proposals seek to respond to criticism from NGOs and civil society that the Commission has not done enough following the publication of its White Paper on the Future of Europe to put sustainable development at the heart of its five scenarios for the future of the EU which lacked reference to sustainability.  With the end of the current European Commission mandate in sight, the executive is now bowing to pressure for the EU to realign its priorities around an agenda of transformational change, one that puts the interests of people and planet first in the context of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate deal.  NGOs have gone one step further by producing a new 6th scenario as a contribution to the Future of Europe debate –a SUSTAINABLE EUROPE FOR ITS CITIZENS.  It is predicated on sustainability sitting firmly at the heart of the European project, with the EU27 prioritising the interests of citizens, in the EU and beyond.  In its second major priority for 2018, and as a follow up to the 2017 Circular Economy Action plan, the European Commission will turn its attention to implementation of the Circular Economy. In its so called  “Delivering an action plan for the Circular Economy” the executive envisages:

1. This includes a strategy on plastics use, reuse and recycling (non-legislative, Q4 2017);

2. Regulation on minimum quality requirements for reused water (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 192 TFEU, Q4 2017);

3. REFIT revision of the Drinking Water Directive (legislative, incl. impact assessment, Art. 192 TFEU, Q4 2017);

3. An initiative to address legal, technical or practical bottlenecks at the interface of chemical, product and waste legislation (non-legislative, Q4 2017); and

4.  a monitoring framework for the circular economy (non-legislative, Q4 2017)


Issue 55