Circular Economy – New, More Ambitious Plans to be Drafted in 2015
European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans has confirmed that the policy proposals around waste drawn up by the previous Commission will be scrapped, but that a ‘more ambitious’ plan for the circular economy is set to be drafted in 2015.
Mr Timmermans was speaking in the European Parliament today (December 16) outlining the Commission’s work programme for 2015. He confirmed that the circular economy package drafted by the former Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik would be withdrawn.
However, Mr Timmermans said that the Commission will now look to draw up a ‘broader, more ambitious plan’ for the circular economy in 2015, that looks at the whole of the circular economy and not just waste legislation.The package included plans to increase targets for the recycling of municipal to 70% by 2030 and for higher targets for recycling packaging waste.
Circular Economy Contribution Towards Jobs & Growth
Addressing MEPs, he said: “We have looked at what we are planning with a critical eye, will this initiative contribute to jobs and growth, will it be effective at changing things on the ground without adding unnecessary burdens?
“At the start of the new legislative cycle it is time to clear the decks so that time and energy can be invested in those legislative proposals that will have the biggest impact on jobs and growth and will have the best prospect of being adopted in the future.
“So we have looked through every pending proposal across all sectors and decided whether we want to maintain or withdraw them. We want results on the ground so where it is clear proposals will not be met in a way that meets our objectives we will propose alternative more effective proposals.”
“What we want to do is approach the circular economy in a circular way and not just a half circle, which means that we will withdraw the present waste proposal and come back with a more ambitious proposal that will cover the whole of the circular economy, and we will do this in 2015, we will not drag our feet on this.”
What Will be the New Plan for the Circular Economy?
Firm details of what the Commission’s plan is likely to involve are yet to emerge, and early reaction to the announcement has urged the new Commission to follow the direction set in Commissioner Potocnik’s plan.
Commenting on the announcement, Roy Hathaway, policy adviser for the Environmental Services Association, said: “While it is reassuring to hear that the Commission plans to bring back the Circular Economy proposals in a broader and more ambitious form in 2015, rather than abandon them altogether, the uncertainty around what this means is not helpful. Progress towards a more circular economy in Europe is vital for jobs and growth as well as for resource efficiency and environmental protection.
“The Commission’s previous proposals were not perfect, but the direction of travel they set was right, and would have helped encourage private sector investment in better resource management.
“ESA looks forward to seeing the revised Commission proposals as soon as possible and will work with all EU institutions to ensure that they are workable and would help move European resource management in the right direction.”
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