“Building a circular economy for Europe is a key priority for this Commission. We have made good progress and are planning new initiatives in 2017. We are closing the loop of design, production, consumption, and waste management, thereby creating a green, circular and competitive Europe.” Last year, key measures were taken in areas such as waste, ecodesign, food waste, organic fertilisers, guarantees for consumer goods, and innovation and investment.
Together with Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, and EIB Vice-President Jonathan Tyler Timmermans announced the establishment of a Circular Economy Finance Support Platform. The Circular Economy Finance Support Platform will enhance the link between existing instruments, such as the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators initiative backed by Horizon 2020, and potentially develop new financial instruments for circular economy projects. The Platform will bring together the Commission, the EIB, National Promotional Banks, institutional investors and other stakeholders, raising awareness of circular economy investment opportunities and promoting best practices amongst potential promoters, analysing projects and their financial needs, and providing advice on structuring and bankability.
The commission has also published a communication on the role of waste-to-energy processes in the circular economy, which is expected to maximise the benefits of this part of the national energy mix. It provides guidance for Member States to achieve the right balance of waste-to-energy capacity, highlighting the role of the waste hierarchy which ranks waste management options according to their sustainability and gives top priority to preventing and recycling of waste.
Timmermans also presented a proposal to update legislation to restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive). The proposal promotes substitution of hazardous materials to make the recycling of components more profitable. The proposed changes will further facilitate second-hand market operations (e.g. reselling) and repair of electrical and electronic equipment.
In 2017 the Commission wants to deliver further on the Circular Economy Action Plan, i.a. with a strategy on plastics, a monitoring framework for the circular economy and a proposal for promoting water re-use,