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EC’s Circular economy package to be re-tabled in 2015

December 22, 2014

On Tuesday 16 December, the European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced in Strasbourg the executive’s 2015 work programme. The Circular Economy package proposed earlier this summer and which includes rules on waste (including food waste), recycling, incineration, and landfill, was withdrawn from the European Commission’s new work programme.

As part of the Circular Economy package, the European Commission adopted in July 2014 a Communication and a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU. This legislative proposal consists of six pieces of legislation: waste, packaging, landfill, end of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, and waste electronic equipment. In particular, the draft legislation sets a 30% food waste reduction target for Member states between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2025.

The Barosso Commission highlighted back in July that by achieving these revised targets, 180,000 new jobs would be created, while making Europe more competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources. Moreover, the adoption of the circular economy package overall would bring €600 billion net savings for EU businesses, while also reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions. (1)

Despite these growth and job opportunities highlighted by the past Commission, the First Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced on Tuesday 16 December the withdrawal of the Circular Economy package from the executive’s work programme. The Commission cites the need to ensure that “the Circular Economy is approached in a circular way and not just half a way”, replacing the package with“new, more ambitious proposal” by the end of 2015. (2)

This unexpected decision has received a lot of criticism from a wide range of stakeholders and was unanimously opposed by the EU Environmental Ministers at their meeting on December 17th, following a letter from eleven Environment Ministers voicing their concern. Having recently attended the UN climate change talks in Lima, the Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti highlighted that the withdrawal of the proposed legislation on circular economy would certainly not help Europe on the road to UN Climate Change Conference COP21 in Paris.(3)

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/circular-economy/

(2) http://www.euractiv.com/sections/sustainable-dev/circular-economy-package-be-ditched-and-re-tabled-310866

(3) http://www.euractiv.com/sections/sustainable-dev/ministers-unanimous-against-ditching-circular-economy-310915

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