Policy context - Circular economy

Policy context

Logo Circular Economy © European Union

The EU aims to transition to a circular economy to make Europe cleaner and more competitive.

To accelerate the EU’s transition to a circular economy, the European Commission adopted the new circular economy action plan in March 2020. It is one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal, Europe’s new agenda for sustainable growth.

The EU’s transition to a circular economy will reduce pressure on natural resources and will create sustainable growth and jobs. It is also a prerequisite to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality target and to halt biodiversity loss.

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The new action plan announces initiatives along the entire life cycle of products. It targets how products are designed, promotes circular economy processes, encourages sustainable consumption, and aims to ensure that waste is prevented and the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.

It introduces legislative and non-legislative measures targeting areas where action at the EU level brings real added value. The Commission will implement all 35 actions listed in the action plan. The areas included in the action plan are:

To monitor the progress towards the circular economy, several tools and instruments accompany the action plan. For this purpose, Eurostat set up the circular economy monitoring framework.

The von der Leyen Commission presented the European Green Deal on 11 December 2019. It sets an ambitious roadmap towards a climate-neutral circular economy, where economic growth is decoupled from resources use.

The European Commission adopted a set of proposals to make the EU's climate, energy, transport and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. More information on Delivering the European Green Deal.