Brussels — “To achieve a circular economy, small towns need help too.” That was the essence of the message delivered by CEMR’s new spokesperson for Environment, Marianne Overton at the joint conference „Waste legislation review: regions & cities for a circular economy“ at the European Committee of the Regions on 31 January. CEMR is the Council of European Municipalities and Regions.
Ambitious waste and circular economy legislation in the EU is not only essential for the future of our planet; it also enhances job creation in our towns and regions. According to the European Commission’s impact assessment, 443 million tons of greenhouse gas could be avoided and 180,000 direct jobs could be created by 2030. Local governments are all for it. But they need access to the necessary resources to make this ambition a reality.
Funds from the EU do exist, and local governments are willing to access them. However, towns with smaller capacities often meet too many obstacles when trying to access funds. One can imagine how difficult it might be for small town administrations to conduct in-depth assessments. Simplification and cutting red tape is therefore essential.
As Councillor Marianne Overton puts it: “We call for a financial framework that allows small towns to achieve EU targets. EU investment funds are great, but they are not adapted to thousands of towns and cities with smaller capacities.”
From local government associations, to MEPs, to local representatives, all stakeholders present at the conference agreed that ambitious targets in waste and circular economy legislation are a necessity. The European Parliament as a whole will vote on the circular economy package on 13 March. We call on those who see the need for an ambitious circular economy package to acknowledge the need for all towns and regions to have the means to reach this ambition.
Access to funding was one of the key messages of CEMR’s position paper on the circular economy package adopted last year. All of the Council`s recommendations can be downloaded under ccre.org.
Source: Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)