EU Parliament can improve circular economy proposals

Written by Piernicola Pedicini on 1 February 2016 in Feature

Piernicola Pedicini is confident that the European Parliament can help enable the real uptake of a circular economy.

The transition from a linear to a circular economy is both an economic and environmental necessity - and a matter of urgency. The first step in this direction is the elimination of all environmentally harmful subsidies.

According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, in 2015, the EU spent €330bn on fossil fuel subsidies. The same study highlights that eliminating subsidies that year would have allowed governments to save €2,9bn.

Unfortunately, the Commission has not proposed a clear ban on subsidies to fossil fuels, nor to all environmentally harmful subsidies, ignoring the resolution Parliament adopted last July. The Commission has also failed to keep its promise to deliver a proposal more ambitious than the one it withdrew in 2014.


Committing to adopting a series of actions - some of which had already been proposed in previous initiatives - does not equate being 'more ambitious'.

Rather, given that there are fewer binding requirements and targets, this proposal is less ambitious than its predecessor. For example, regarding organic waste, there is no mention of a proper target or mandatory separate collection, or of a ban on landfilling.

In a circular economy, there shouldn’t be any room for incineration or landfilling of waste - this should be phased out as soon as possible and all related subsidies banned.

All products should be easy to reuse, repair, recycle and dismantle. The reuse sector has enormous potential; one third of municipal waste could be reused if we made it more economically convenient to reuse materials rather than recycle, incinerate or landfill it.

I am confident that, together with my MEP colleagues, we will be able to improve this proposal to enable a real uptake of a circular economy.


About the author

Piernicola Pedicini (IT) is Parliament's EFDD group shadow rapporteur on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy


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