David Palmer-Jones, FEAD President, has written to newly appointed Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, to reiterate the European waste and resource management industry’s support for the Circular Economy package, after rumours emerged that it might be subject to review.
A letter from President Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans to the newly appointed European Commissioners this week reportedly stated that items adopted by the former Commission may be subject to review – including the circular economy proposals (See CIWM Journal Online story).
Within the letter, Palmer-Jones underlines the importance of the Commission’s Circular Economy Package for sustainable development in the European Union, and the wish of the sector to remain engaged with Europe.
Palmer-Jones states: “Waste management plays a key role in achieving a resource efficient Europe by turning waste into a valuable resource and thus improving the resource resilience of the EU’s industrial base.”
Letter in full:
Dear Commissioner Vella,
At the beginning of your term in office, FEAD – the European association of waste management and environmental services – would like to wish you all the best for your important work. While doing so, we would like to underline the importance of the Commission’s Circular Economy Package for jobs, growth, and sustainable development in the European Union.
Waste management plays a key role in achieving a resource efficient Europe by turning waste into a valuable resource and thus improving the resource resilience of the EU’s industrial base.
These benefits have been recognised by our sector and we see the Circular Economy as a logical evolutionary step in European business models and business practices.
Therefore, FEAD’s members have welcomed the Commission’s package of proposals designed to promote a more circular economy and improve the efficiency with which resources including waste are managed in Europe. The direction of travel and the level of ambition set out in these proposals can only be applauded.
Various studies as well as the impact assessment accompanying the proposal suggest there is a huge potential for creating jobs and growth as well as environmental benefits if the proposal is implemented.
The Commission’s leadership in this policy area as well as in a long-term European industrial strategy creating growth and jobs is essential to create the right market dynamics to turn the Circular Economy into reality. The Commission proposal is a good start in this direction.
It is therefore with some concern that we note in the draft list of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2015, published on 7 November 2014, under the theme of “A Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy” that the recurrent initiatives relating to the Waste Package is slated “For Review”.
Moreover, the critical supporting initiatives on the Eco-design and labelling directives, part of the Commission’s Circular Economy Package, are listed under the REFIT initiatives, indicating that rather than being enhanced and made fit-for-purpose in relation to material efficiency, these latter directives will instead be repealed.
FEAD is aware that some of the detailed provisions in the Commission proposal need to be fine-tuned so as to make them practical and feasible. However, rather than withdraw the Circular Economy package, FEAD members strongly believe it should be retained, with certain modifications to improve its effectiveness:
- To build and sustain viable markets for secondary outputs in view of achieving circularity, the proposal should put more emphasis on “pull” measures such as eco-design, green public procurement and the creation of stronger demand for recycled raw materials in the EU;
- In order for member states to report their performance and achievement of the set recycling targets on a comparable basis, harmonised data gathering, reporting and definitions are a pre-requisite. Moreover, the calculation method defined to achieve the targets shall be practical and clearly applicable at EU level;
- There is significant potential to further improve the implementation of waste legislation at national level and to reduce the current disparities.
Our industry is very keen to work with the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the other European institutions to make the proposal as practical and effective as we can. Above all, we urge that the coherence of the Circular Economy package is not compromised, but is properly reflected in the Commission Work Programme under consideration.
We would like to thank you in advance for the consideration you will give to our concerns and remain at your disposal should you wish to discuss this issue in more detail.