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New Circular Economy Action Plan: stakeholder's consultation now open. Helping the environment and the COVID-19 economic recovery  

​​​The European Committee of the Regions' consultation on circular economy is open to all local and regional authorities and other key stakeholders until 1st of May 202​0.

Our planet is running out of resources. With global consumption expected to double in the next decades and with no sign of global warming decreasing anytime soon, there is an urgent need to decouple economic growth from resource use by manufacturing products that are durable, reusable and reparable. Boosting circularity will help the environment, but will also be pivotal to the post COVID-19 economic recovery. With an upcoming opinion by Tjisse Stelpstra (NL/ECR), regional minister of the Province of Drenthe, the CoR aims to strengthen the local and regional pillar of the new Circular Economy Action plan to place cities and regions at its core.

Annual waste generation from all economic activities in the EU amounts 2.5 billion tonnes. That is 5 tonnes per capita a year. Today, there is no ​​comprehensive set of legal and policy requirements to ensure that all products placed on the EU market become increasingly sustainable and stand the test of circularity. That is the purpose of the European Commission's new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) presented on 11 March 2020.

The new CEAP includes a wide range of proposals. Amongst them is the extension of the Ecodesign Framework to the broadest possible range of products, boosting Green Public Procurement, setting up restrictions on the use of packaging materials, putting forward waste reduction targets for specific streams, harmonising separate collection systems and getting the much-expected common phone charger out in the EU market. The key target products are electronics, building and construction materials, vehicles and batteries, packaging, plastics and microplastics, textiles, food, water and nutrients.

Through a written stakeholders' consultation open until 1st May 2020, the European Committee of the Regions is now calling on all local and regional authorities in the EU as well as to stakeholders to share their views on the Commission's proposal and put forward their own views and suggestions.

The public consultation's working document is available here.

​"Circular economy is a major subject of this decade. We must urgently translate sustainable product policy into specific legislation as to ensure the right of consumers to access durable products and put an end to premature obsolescence and the destruction of unsold durable goods. Our final destination must be a zero-waste society", said rapporteur Tjisse STELPSTRA (NL/ECR), regional minister of the Province of Drenthe.

The main objective of the CoR's upcoming opinion is to develop the territorial pillar of the new CEAP and define the opportunities and challenges facing the EU's local and regional authorities across the expected policy actions.

"We certainly welcome the comprehensive set of legislative and policy measures proposed by the European Commission. Yet, we consider that the new CEAP does not go far enough in capitalising on and tapping into the political potential of regions and cities in making circular economy a reality on the ground. We also need specific targets along with price signals and incentives to ensure sustainable behaviours by producers, users and consumers", added rapporteur Tjisse Stelpstra.

In the context of COVID-19 and its impact on healthcare systems and the economy, rapporteur Tjisse Stelpstra draws attention to the EU's dependency on resources and enquires the lessons that we can learn and that will need to be considered when drawing economic recovery plans.  "The devastating situation created by COVID-19 must bring all policy makers together and be the wake-up call for a new economic model that places social wellbeing and environmental sustainability at the core of the EU's economic recovery", added rapporteur Tjisse Stelpstra.

The CEAP's potential contribution to the post COVID -19 economic recovery is not to be underestimated as circular economy brings a wide range of new business opportunities. Circular economy jobs in the EU grew by 5% to reach around 4 million from 2012 and 2018 (EC).

Notes:

Depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 situation, the working calendar of the CoR's opinion on the new Circular Economy Action Plan is as follows: the working document is scheduled for discussion at the ENVE Commission meeting on 8 June. The draft opinion is foreseen for adoption at the ENVE meeting on the 9th of September with a final vote expected at the Plenary Session of 13-14 October 2020.

Representatives of local and regional authorities and other stakeholders are kindly invited to share their written contributions by sending them to Aliona.Fornea@cor.europa.eu and enve@cor.europa.eu by the 1st of May 2020.

Please note that rapporteur Tjisse Stelpstra is available for online meetings and chats upon request - together with his expert Ingrid Zeegers and the CoR's ENVE team.

To frame the discussions, the rapporteur is sharing his work document on the new Circular Economy Action Plan containing some general and specific questions structured around the following four aspects:

  1. ​The LRAs' role in delivering the circular economy
  2. Shift in the economic system
  3. There is no waste, there are just resources
  4. Setting up targets and framing legislation

The rapporteur's working document will be available in all EU languages as from April 8 in the consultation's webpage.


Press Contact:
​David Crous
Tel.: +32 (0) 470 88 10 37
david.crous@cor.europa.eu