11 Mar 2020


Brussels, Brussels Daily

Changing the way we produce and consume: new action plan for the circular economy

Today, the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan – one of the main building blocks of the European Green Deal – the new European agenda for sustainable growth. With measures throughout the product life cycle, the new Action Plan aims to make our economy fit for a green future, to strengthen our competitiveness while protecting the environment and to give new rights to consumers. Building on work carried out since 2015, the new plan focuses on the design and production of a circular economy, with the aim of ensuring that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible . Executive Vice President for the European Green Pact, Frans Timmermans, said: “To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, to preserve our natural environment and strengthen our economic competitiveness, we need a fully circular economy. There is enormous potential to be harnessed for both businesses and consumers. With today’s plan, we are launching actions to transform the way products are made and allow consumers to make sustainable choices for their own benefit and that of the environment. “The Commissioner of the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said:” We have only one planet Earth and by 2050 we will consume it as if we have three. The new plan will make circularity the mainstream of our lives and accelerate the green transition of our economy. Future-oriented actions will create business and job opportunities, give new rights to European consumers, exploit innovation and digitalisation and, like nature, will make sure nothing is wasted. The Commission will ensure that the transition to a circular economy offers opportunities for everyone and leaves no one behind. The Circular Economy Action Plan presented today as part of the EU industrial strategy outlines measures to make sustainable products the norm in the EU, empower consumers and reduce waste production. It focuses on the sectors that use the most resources and where the potential for circularity is high: electronics and ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastic, textiles, construction and food. A press release is available here and a question and answer here. (For more information: Vivian Loonela – Tel .: +32 229 66712; Daniela Stoycheva – Tel .: +32 229 53664)


COVID-19: The European Commission steps up its response to the Coronavirus outbreak on all fronts

After participating in the EU leaders’ videoconference yesterday, President von der Leyen announced several additional measures to step up the EU response to the Coronavirus outbreak on all fronts. President von der Leyen said: “The crisis we face because of Coronavirus has both a very significant human dimension, and a potentially major economic impact. It is therefore essential that we act decisively and collectively, to contain the spread of the virus and help patients, and to counter the economic fallout.” President von der Leyen also called Prime Minister Conte yesterday to express the EU’s solidarity with the Italian people, and will continue to discuss specific measures to support the country with the Italian authorities. At EU level, the Commission mobilised €140 million of public and private funding for promising research on vaccines, diagnosis and treatment. The Commission will also strengthen its coordination role and will liaise on a daily basis with national Health and Internal Affairs Ministers to discuss the necessary measures. In addition to this, we are taking stock of the available protective equipment and respiratory devices as well as their production and distribution capacity. To that effect, Commissioner Breton held a videoconference with high-level representatives of EU big manufacturing companies of Personal Protective Equipment who expressed their willingness to increase production in order to face the increasing demand. A follow-up videoconference will take place next week. On the economic front, the Commission will set up a Corona Response Investment Initiative aiming to channel €25 billion worth of investment to directly support the national health care systems, SMEs, labour markets and other vulnerable parts of the EU economy. It will use €7.5 billion of unspent structural funds and the release of some €17.5-€18 billion of further structural funding. The Commission also announced targeted legislation yesterday to temporarily alleviate airlines from their airport slot usage obligations under EU law. This measure will release pressure on the whole aviation industry and in particular on smaller airlines. A press release is available online with the full list of measures. A dedicated webpage on the EU actions to the Coronavirus outbreak is also available online.  (For more information: Eric Mamer – Tel.:+32 229 94073; Dana Spinant – Tel.: +32 2299 0150; Vivian Loonela – Tel.:+32 229 66712;  Stefan de Keersmaecker – Tel.:+32 229 84680;Sonya Gospodinova – Tel.: +32 229 66953)


European Commission publishes 2019 General Report on the Activities of the European Union

The 2019 edition of the EU General Report highlights the European Green Deal announced by President von der Leyen in December. The Green Deal seeks to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, while creating jobs, improving people’s health and quality of life, caring for the environment and leaving no one behind. The report also shows how the EU is delivering for Europeans. In 2019, the European economy enjoyed its seventh consecutive year of growth, employment reached a record high and unemployment fell to 6.3%, its lowest level since the beginning of the century. The Investment Plan for Europe mobilised over €439 billion in investment across Europe. The EU also reaffirmed its position as a leading trade power. In 2019, it saw its agreements with Japan and Singapore enter into force, concluded negotiations for an agreement with the Mercosur trading bloc, and signed a deal with Vietnam. On border management, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)’s reinforced mandate entered into force, giving it the operational capacity and powers needed to effectively support Member States on the ground. The Agency will be equipped with its own standing corps of border guards, has a stronger mandate on returns and can cooperate more closely with non-EU countries. The report also presents the changes in leadership of the different European institutions in 2019, including the European Parliament, European Council, and European Commission. The publication of the General Report fulfils the Commission’s legal obligation under Article 249(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to publish an annual report on the activities of the European Union. It is available in all official languages of the EU as a fully illustrated book and in an interactive online version. (For more information: Dana Spinant – Tel.: +32 2299 0150)

Read the European Commission – Daily News in full here

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