Finland took over the rotating presidency of the EU Council on 1 July 2019 with an ambitious agenda in which climate action will play a central role. During the six months it will spend at the helm of the institution, Helsinki will work to integrate the circular economy into the next Commission’s work programme, as well as to encourage member states to reach a consensus on key topics related to the circular economy, it has announced.
Some of the issues which the presidency will bring to the attention of the Council include the key opportunities offered by product policy and digitalisation for the promotion of the circular economy; follow-up measures to clarify the interface between EU product and waste legislation in order to remove the obstacles to the circular economy; circular economy strategies for key sectors; and funding to support the circular economy.
The Finnish agenda builds upon the Commission’s intense efforts to promote the circular economy in recent years through the revision of the waste legislative framework and the establishment of a plastics strategy that will ban certain single-use plastics starting in 2021. As per a March report by the Commission, the EU is well on its way to implementing the Circular Economy Action Plan, a list of 54 actions that it defined back in 2015 and that the bloc needs to carry out in order to reform its economy.
However, the Finnish presidency will seek to inject further momentum in the efforts to develop markets for secondary raw materials and to implement the revised waste legislation. Helsinki has also stated its intention to speed up the work on issues like chemicals, eco-innovation and eco-labelling and critical raw materials and fertilisers.