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Environment ministers doubt scope of EU circular economy package

EU environment ministers have urged caution over higher recycling targets during initial discussions on the European Commission’s circular economy package.

Representatives of member states, including the UK’s resource minister Dan Rogerson, convened in Brussels for the first Environment Council under the Italian presidency.

Ministers held an initial debate on amendments to EU directives on waste management, which would include targets of 70% for recycling and 5% for landfilling by 2030 and introduce an early warning system to anticipate any difficulties in hitting the targets.

According to an official report on the event, ministers welcomed the thrust of the proposals but urged “realistic and achievable” targets on reuse, recycling and landfilling.

Other concerns related to the proposed frequency of reporting, calculation methodologies and definitions, and the possible costs of the early warning system.

Ministers also asked for countries’ different starting positions to be taken into account.

In an opening address, outgoing environment commissioner Janez Potočnik, above, urged ministers to support the policy package.

“We have just translated the commitment in principle into the commitment to concrete proposals,” he said.

“Of course it is a difficult task to change, of course it requires [public] investment… But if we put in place proposals that create predictability for the private sector, this is the utmost important ingredient to get private investment on board.”

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