Brussels — The European Commission (EC) has published an ‘indicative roadmap’ for its upcoming revised „Circular Economy Strategy“ (formerly known as the Circular Economy Package). The new approach requires „a clear and ambitious political vision combined with effective policy tools that can drive real change on the ground“.
According to the paper, two main reasons have motivated the withdrawal of the former Circular Economy Package.
„Firstly, the overall approach presented in July 2014 had a rather exclusive focus on waste management, without appropriately exploring synergies with other policies – clear examples of such policies are product policies or the development of well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials. It is therefore important to step up the ambition by looking more concretely at waste management on the one hand, and related key aspects of the value chain, which are essential in order to „close the loop“ of the circular economy, on the other hand.
Secondly, as far as the waste proposal is concerned, the Commission will examine, in particular, how to make this proposal more country specific, and how to improve the implementation of waste policy on the ground. To that effect, the Commission will look more closely in particular into existing problems of non-compliance which is essential to ensure effective implementation.“
As the „indicative roadmap“ argues, important barriers to the circular economy arise from market failures (e. g . weak price signals due to lack of internalisation of externalities on some commodity markets , split incentives for actors across the value chain, lack of information for investors or consumers, etc.), but also governance and regulatory failures, some of which can be linked to EU legislation (e.g. some ineffective or insufficient policy tools, unaddressed implementation problems, lack of coherence between policy instruments, creation of administrative burden and barriers, lack of harmonised standards, etc.).
The new initiative of the European Commission aims „at tackling some of those barriers through a comprehensive and coherent approach that fully takes into account interactions and interdependence across the whole value chain, rather than focusing exclusively on one part of the economic cycle.“
The aim is „to establish a framework to overcome shortcomings and create conditions for
the development of a circular economy“.
The EC states that „an appropriate stakeholder consultation will be carried out in the preparation for the new initiative, including an online consultation and a stakeholder meeting“. According to EC’s Director-General for Environment, Karl Falkenberg, these consultations will take place „before summer“.
The full paper can be downloaded from ec.europa.eu.
Source: EC commission