Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Waste management and circular economy

Circular economy - 02.02.2017

Ambitious targets go hand in hand with adequate access to funds
 “To achieve a circular economy, small towns need help too.” That was the essence of the message delivered by CEMR’s new spokesperson for Environment and Lincolnshire councillor, Marianne Overton at our joint conference Waste legislation review: regions & cities for a circular economy at the European Committee of the Regions on 31 January.

Ambitious waste and circular economy legislation in the EU is not only essential for the future of our planet; it also enhances job creation in our towns and regions. According to the European Commission’s impact assessment, 443 million tons of greenhouse gas could be avoided and 180,000 direct jobs could be created by 2030. Local governments are all for it – why wouldn’t they be? The problem is, they need access to the necessary resources to make this ambition a reality.

Funds from the EU do exist, and local governments are willing to access them. However, towns with smaller capacities often meet too many obstacles when trying to access funds. One can imagine how difficult it might be for small town administrations to conduct in-depth assessments. Simplification and cutting red tape is therefore essential.

As Councillor Marianne Overton puts it, “We call for a financial framework that allows small towns to achieve EU targets. EU investment funds are great, but they are not adapted to thousands of towns and cities with smaller capacities.

From local government associations, to MEPs, to local representatives, all stakeholders present at the conference agreed that ambitious targets in waste and circular economy legislation are a necessity. The European Parliament as a whole will vote on the circular economy package on 13 March. We call on those who see the need for an ambitious circular economy package to acknowledge the need for all towns and regions to have the means to reach this ambition.

Access to funding was one of the key messages of CEMR’s position paper on the circular economy package adopted last year. To see all our recommendations, click here.


A few key dates

24 January: The European Parliament Committee on Environment (ENVI) voted to improve the circular economy package presented by the European Commission in 2015.

31 January: Joint conference organised by the European Committee of the Regions, with CEMR, ACR+EUROCITIES and Municipal Waste Europe to discuss the package and assess in how far towns and regions’ needs are taken into account. Several high-profile participants were present: MEP Miriam Dalli, Maltese Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, Dr José Herrera and members of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission. The mayor of Sevilla and CEMR spokesperson for Climate and Energy, Juan Espadas Cejas, was also present as a member of the European Comittee of the Regions (on the right on the picture).

13 March: The European Parliament will vote on the circular economy package in a full plenary session in Strasbourg.
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