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Commission hurried on circular economy action

The European Environment Council has called on the Commission to speed up implementation of the circular economy (CE) action plan following missed deadlines.

In the Commission’s CE package, released at the start of December, it said it aimed to publish the eco-design directive work plan for 2015-17 later that month.

But that has yet to come to fruition, with the Commission’s environment lead Karmenu Vella saying in April it was being prepared but he did not specify a date for publication.

The publication this month of the European Parliament’s draft response to the package, by rapporteur Simona Bonafè, was also late as it was originally scheduled for May.

Now the Council – which is made up of member states’ environment ministers such as the UK’s Rory Stewart – has published its draft conclusions on the package.

It expresses concern ”that the Commission has failed to meet the timetable indicated in the annexe to the action plan for actions regarding eco-design” and “requests the Commission to follow-up on these actions without further delay”.

It calls on the Commission to provide the Council with an annual written update on progress on implementation of the action plan.

It also wants the Commission to include an impact assessment of the action plan’s proposals, as previously called for by Stewart, and proposes that it evaluates the effect of the implemented actions from 2018.

Other measures put forward in the Council’s draft conclusions include:

  • A call for the Commission to ensure that environmental claims on labels are based on reliable information
  • More financial incentives and market-based instruments to stimulate reuse and the market for secondary raw materials
  • Incentives for member states’ application of voluntary green public procurement
  • Appropriate measures to improve possibilities to use recycled materials in the eco-design regulations and other appropriate legislation before 2020

Vella (above) welcomed the Council’s conclusions at a meeting in Brussels, but maintained he was pleased with the Commission’s implementation so far.

He said 18 out of the work plan’s 54 measures were “already underway”, including actions on eco-design, waste proposals, plastics strategy and a monitoring framework.

Representatives from all 28 member states spoke at the meeting including Stewart (below), who took the opportunity to call for a ban on microbeads after expressing “deep concern” about the “terrors they propose”.

Stewart eu council

Rory Stewart eu council

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