The Circular Economy Package will be a key environmental dossier for the Dutch Presidency. The Netherlands has announced that they will prioritise the discussions on this Package within the Environment and the Competitiveness Council. Their challenge will be to shape a legislative text that strikes the right balance between the environmental and industrial dimensions.

With regards to the process, the internal debate will kick off immediately by addressing the technical matters upfront. In so doing, the Presidency expects to hold working group meetings every three weeks. Some sources have moreover hinted that a number of technical meetings between experts, rather than attachés, could take place in-between these working group gatherings. This would help to accelerate progress around the technical details.

On 16 December, the Environmental Council held a Public Debate on the Circular Economy Package. Following a brief presentation by European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, nine Member States (Italy, Cyprus, Germany, Poland, Romania, France, UK, Belgium, Sweden) took the floor, providing their first impressions.

Overall, Environment ministers believe that the Commission’s updated Package is an improvement on its predecessor. Most of them moreover underlined the importance of integrating Circular Economy elements into the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Several ministers particularly welcomed the fact that the new proposal makes different demands of different member states depending on their circumstances, particularly their current recycling rates.