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European Commission adopts new Circular Economy Package
11
Dec '15
The European Commission has adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.

The new Circular Economy Package will help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way, the Commission said in a press release. The proposed actions will contribute to "closing the loop" of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy. The plans will extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing Green House Gas emissions.

The proposals cover the full lifecycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. This transition will be supported financially by ESIF funding, 650 million euro from Horizon 2020 (the EU funding programme for research and innovation), 5.5 billion euro from structural funds for waste management, and investments in the circular economy at national level.

The Package has broken down silos in the Commission and contributes to broad political priorities by tackling climate change and the environment while boosting job creation, economic growth, investment and social fairness. It has been prepared by a core project team co-chaired by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen with the close involvement of Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elzbieta Bienkowska. Many other Commissioners were also involved in its preparation and helped identify the most effective tools covering a wide range of policy areas.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said, "Our planet and our economy cannot survive if we continue with the 'take, make, use and throw away' approach. We need to retain precious resources and fully exploit all the economic value within them. The circular economy is about reducing waste and protecting the environment, but it is also about a profound transformation of the way our entire economy works. By rethinking the way we produce, work and buy we can generate new opportunities and create new jobs”

The Circular Economy Package gives a clear signal to economic operators that the EU is using all the tools available to transform its economy, opening the way to new business opportunities and boosting competitiveness. The broad measures for changing the full product lifecycle go beyond a narrow focus on the end-of-life stage and underline the Commission's clear ambition to transform the EU economy and deliver results. Innovative and more efficient ways of producing and consuming should increasingly emerge as a result of the incentives we are putting in place.

The circular economy has the potential to create many jobs in Europe, while preserving precious and increasingly scarce resources, reducing environmental impacts of resource use and injecting new value into waste products. Sectoral measures are also set out, as well as quality standards for secondary raw materials, the release said. (SH)

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