EU Expertise – Circular Economy


“The circular economy is about more than the economy. It’s about creating a positive attitude to the future, it’s about creating a sense that our future can be more prosperous, can be better. That there is a place for everyone in the circular economy.”

Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission  

On 11 March 2020, the European Commission has presented the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). As the core element of the new Green Deal, the Action Plan sets out an ambitious policy roadmap to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. It forms a key building block of the European Union’s climate policy and contributes to the climate policy priority of von der Leyen’s presidential term (2019-2024).

The European Union estimates that resource extraction causes 50% of all greenhouse gases (GHG). To counteract this development, the Circular Economy Action plan seek to “absolutely decouple growth from resource use” and transition to an economy based on circularity instead of linearity.  

To translate this objective into action, the Commission seeks to revise all major legislation regulating the production, consumption and waste management of products. The revision of the guiding laws will crosscut all policy sectors including energy, agriculture, plastics, mobility and construction. 

The Circular Economy Action Plan’s main policy initiatives include:

  • Eco-Design Action Plan: definition of requirements on the durability, reparability and recyclability of products, extension of eco-design principles to new product groups, including ICT, textiles and clothing 
  • Packaging and packaging waste: review of waste reduction targets and introduction of essential requirements for packaging  
  • Waste: proposal for an EU harmonised model on separate waste collection 
  • Plastics: review of biodegradability methodologies 
  • Agriculture: proposals for sustainable and circular farming practices