On 20 June 2016, the Environment Council held a public debate on the Circular Economy Action Plan. The plan aims to reduce waste and keep the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible. The conclusions support this aim and demonstrate commitment to this transition towards a more sustainable model, for instance by cutting resource use, boosting recycling and better managing waste. You can read the conclusions here.

During the debate, the Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, briefly introduced the Action Plan, noting that some of the measures listed in the document are already being dealt with by the Commission, European Parliament and Council (such as the Fertilisers Regulation, the Green Public Procurement and the legislative proposals on waste). Eco-design, a strategy on plastics and the creation of a functioning secondary raw materials market were mentioned as immediate upcoming challenges for policy-makers. The Commissioner welcomed the fact that the work on the legislative proposals on waste will be one of the Slovak Presidency’s priorities.

The Ministers welcomed the Action Plan and complimented the Netherlands Presidency on their work on finding a compromise on the conclusions text. The public debate was short and concise as key elements of the Action Plan were already discussed in detail at previous Council meetings.