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Commission sets out 2017 CE priorities

Timmermans and katainen january 2017

The European Commission has issued guidance on energy from waste and pledged to produce a strategy for waste plastic and new legislation on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

In a report on progress of its 2015 circular economy (CE) action plan, the Commission also lists measures already underway in areas such as waste, ecodesign, food waste, organic fertilisers, guarantees for consumer goods, and innovation and investment.

For 2017, it has committed itself to delivering a strategy on plastics, a monitoring framework for the CE and a proposal for promoting water reuse. It is also creating an initiative with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to bring together investors and innovators

It published guidance to member states on converting waste to energy, and proposed improved legislation on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

At the launch of the reports in Brussels, first vice-president Frans Timmermans (pictured above left) said: “I hope the present proposals can be dealt with in the coming year. There is a sense of urgency in the environment council. What is on the table now can be decided this year, hopefully.”

He fired a dig at new US president Donald Trump, who has already made headlines for his attempt to stop the country’s Environmental Protection Agency sharing research directly with the public.

Timmermans said he believed that EU regulation such as the CE package would be followed by the rest of the world, “even if they believe in alternative facts”.

Vice-president Jyrki Katainen (pictured above right) said plans for the financial support platform would increase awareness of investment opportunities.

“Our goal is to upscale investment, both public and private, in the CE. It very often means new business models and they may require new, innovative ways of financing,” he said. “The CE is an important element to modernise the European economy and we are on track to deliver this sustainable change.”

EIB vice-president Jonathan Taylor said: “The EIB is pleased to join forces with the Commission and use our combined financial firepower and expertise to make our economies more circular.”

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