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Circular economy Revised - Commission proposals undermined by lowered ambition


02 Dec 2015


EU Priorities 2020
Innovation & Enterprise
Sustainable Dev.
Climate & Environment

The European Commission today presented new proposals the circular economy and resource use. Reacting to the proposals, Greens/EFA vice-president and environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout said:

"While we welcome the fact the Commission has finally come forward with revised proposals on the circular economy, we are concerned that the plans are undermined by the lowered ambition. This is contrary to the commitment by the Commission to come forward with a more ambitious proposal. A year on from the initial decision by the Commission to withdraw its original proposals, we have lost both time and ambition in the push to stimulate the circular economy at EU level.

"While the new proposal includes additional elements, it lacks crucial aspects from the withdrawn proposal. A glaring absence is the scrapping of the proposed target to increase resource efficiency at EU level by 30 % by 2030 compared with 2014 levels. Without effective and binding measures to reduce resource consumption, and without integration of resource consumption into the European Semester, the package will not truly contribute to sustainable development."

Green environment spokesperson Davor Skrlec added:

"The proposal to address 'waste to energy' in the context of the Energy Union is alarming. Our economy needs prevention by smart designs, more reuse and more recycling – sustainable innovation, not more incineration. The new proposal also weakens crucial elements concerning waste management compared to the previous proposal. The targets for reducing marine litter and food waste have been removed. The waste recycling targets are weaker compared to the  previous proposal, and the proposed 10% tolerance further weakens the waste recycling targets.

"Far from damaging the economy, ambitious proposals on circular economy would stimulate innovation in resource efficiency and saving, which would create durable domestic jobs in Europe. As the Commission itself acknowledged, better eco-design and waste prevention and reuse realise major savings for EU businesses, beyond the environmental benefit. Increasing resource productivity 30% by 2030 could boost GDP by nearly 1%, while creating 2 million additional jobs. It is a win-win scenario and, as such, it is a major shame that the Commission is not seeing to maximise the potential of the circular economy. We will seek to address some of the shortcomings in the European Parliament."

A comparison of the new Commission proposal with the original proposal of 2014 and the position voted by the EU Parliament in July 2015 can be found at:


Richard More O'Ferrall,

Press and media advisor, social media coordinator,

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament

Mobile: +32-477-443842

Ph. +32-22841669 (Brussels); +33-388174042 (Strasbourg) - -



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