Expectations too high

If an ambitious announcement is made, it is bound to raise high expectations. Now the EU Commission will have to live with the fact that it was unable to fulfil these expectations with its new circular economy package. Nevertheless, the package is not a total failure, quite the contrary.
Marco Govel, Fotolia.com

The EU Commission has kept its word. After the controversial withdrawal of the circular economy package put forward by the previous Commission, the new team announced a changed, more “ambitious” package for later in 2015. The package, which was made public on 2 December, consists of a so-called “communication“ (a kind of manifesto), an action plan and four proposals for the revision of six waste directives, and covers all aspects of the circular economy quite extensively. “The plans will extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The proposals cover the full life cycle, from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary materials,” states the Commission in a press release. The economic aspect in particular is emphasised repeatedly. The press release goes on to state: “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 life cycle 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. However, the word „ambitious“ in this case also means realistic. Thus the Commission writes: “The aim of the plan is to focus on issues where EU-level action brings real added value and is capable of making a difference on the ground.”


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