The aim of this Circular Economy Workshop, organized by the TAIEX Office and the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission, was to provide updates on the developments of the circular economy in the EU and in the enlargement countries.
The workshop also aimed at identifying possible areas of further cooperation with a view of promoting the circular economy in the context of the EU regional cooperation with the enlargement countries. The beneficiary countries included: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In the welcoming speeches, it was underlined that the transition to a Circular Economy requires a system-level transformation at local, national and international levels. No single government, organization or business can drive this change alone. Rather, public and private sector stakeholders have to work together to identify and implement a common “circular” vision for transforming production, manufacturing and consumption patterns, through a process of joint and continuous experimentation, learning, adapting and scaling of efforts. In her statement, Ms Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General in charge of Coordination of Resource efficiency policies and instruments in DG ENV underlined the economic benefits of the Circular Economy but also the efforts necessary – including major change of consumer behaviour.

The representative of the hosting country – Ms Cuci, Deputy Minister of Environment outlined the Waste Management strategy of Albania for the next 15 years. The strategy includes several measures, including constructing the relevant facilities and infrastructure – landfills and incinerator(s). She noted that for a successful integrated urban waste management a clear distribution of roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders is necessary. She outlined the major pillars of the WM Strategy, namely: standards, infrastructure, involvement of local authorities and monitoring and implementation.

Jani Makraduli, Deputy Minister of Environment and Physical Planning presented the waste management in Macedonia, organized in 4 regional WM centers and the new Waste Prevention Plan of the country. He also informed the participants that there are currently proposals for several draft laws in this sphere.

Mr. Fatmir Matoshi, Deputy Minister of Environment of Kosovo outlined the situation, noting that less than 5 % of waste is recycled.

Monika Romenska, EXPRA’s Regulatory & Public Affairs Manager, presented the Extended Producer Responsibility contribution to green jobs and growth. In her presentation she showcased the best practices especially in Belgium and Spain in promoting sustainable growth and innovation.

Other speakers, who presented their view on how to achieve a genuine CE, covering different waste streams and policies included Mr. Emmanuel Katrakis, Secretary General, European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), Mr Peter Wessman, Team Coordinator, Unit ENV/B3 ‘Waste Management and Secondary Materials’, European Commission, Ms Anne Vandeputte, International Policy Unit, OVAM, Belgian Public Waste Agency of Flanders and Mr Mihail Asenov, Senior Waste Management Expert, Internationale Angelegenheiten, International Affairs, Environment Agency Austria
And Ms Dijana Varlec, Senior Expert Advisor, Croatian Chamber of Economy, Energy and Environmental protection Department.