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New Innovation Deals to Reduce Barriers to Innovation and Boost Circular Economy

Brussels, 26 May 2016

Innovation Deals, a new pilot scheme launched by the European Commission today, aim to help innovators with promising solutions to environmental issues to navigate regulatory challenges to bringing their ideas to market.

In an open invitation published today for expressions of interest the Commission is seeking projects with strong potential to contribute to the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan. The selected projects will benefit from access to a close cooperation framework bringing together national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help navigate regulatory requirements. This pilot is intended to support innovative ideas for maintaining the value of products, materials and resources in the economy.

The initiative was introduced in the margins of the Competitiveness Council meeting today by Frans Timmermans, the Commission's First Vice-President, and Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Frans Timmermans said: "Today's launch of the Innovation Deals shows a new way of working which brings together our circular economy and better regulation goals. We are testing a new way of giving practical and pragmatic support to a small number of innovators who want to bring valuable projects to market in Europe for the benefit of our citizens and our environment. Addressing regulatory barriers and providing regulatory certainty is essential to keep Europe at the cutting edge of the green economy."

Carlos Moedas said: "Europe has a wealth of innovators with brilliant solutions to societal and environmental challenges. It is important to help innovators to work with us to pin-point what they perceive to be regulatory barriers to innovation. Then we can collaborate at all levels, national, local and EU, to find solutions and ensure European innovation succeeds."

The Innovation Deals build on evidence from Member States that almost two-thirds of the perceived regulatory barriers currently preventing innovators from bringing their ideas to the market can be overcome through explanations or clearer interpretation of specific regulations by public authorities. By looking at concrete cases we can focus on unintended obstacles that may be generated by EU legislation or through its implementation by national governments. The scheme takes the form of voluntary guidance and cooperation between innovators, stakeholders, regulatory authorities and the Commission.

The call for expressions of interest will be open until 15 September 2016. Any innovator or group of innovators seeking to introduce a circular economy-related product or service to the market can apply to participate in an Innovation Deal by setting out the regulatory obstacles they are struggling to overcome.

The Commission will rank the proposals based on clearly defined criteria and will select up to five Expressions of Interest to become Innovation Deals. The implementation of the selected deals will start in January 2017. The Commission does not provide any funding for the implementation of these projects, which are based on a practical cooperation model.

Background

Different interpretations and/or manners of transposition of national, local and EU legislation and the fast pace of innovation have led to a policy and legislative framework that may not always adequately support innovation and its market uptake.

The Innovation Deals initiative, introduced in the Circular Economy Package adopted by the European Commission in December 2015, aims to help solve this problem, without in any way undermining commonly agreed environmental objectives. The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy that establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of actions, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The Annex to the Circular Economy Action Plan sets out a timeline for when the actions will be completed.

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