Despite the Europe-wide coronavirus outbreak taking headlines, the European Commission this week presented an ambitious Industrial Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan.
While the ever-growing coronavirus outbreak, and its response to it, seems to be the only news story this week, within the span of 24 hours, the European Commission this week published ambitious plans to modernise European industry while increasing its green and circular credentials.
On Tuesday, Margarethe Vestager, Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice Presidents, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market presented the European Commission’s new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe. The comprehensive strategy, which also features a dedicated SME strategy and an action plan for the better implementation and enforcement of the single market, aims to drive European businesses’ competitiveness and its strategic autonomy.
Through the Strategy the Commission sets out the key drivers needed for Europe’s industrial transformation and proposes comprehensive future actions, including an intellectual property action plan, a pharmaceutical strategy, and a clean hydrogen alliance to accelerate the decarbonisation of industry and maintain industrial leadership, followed by alliances on low-carbon Industries and on industrial clouds and platforms and raw materials.
Moreover, the dedicated SME strategy and action plan on enforcing the single market rules aim to help SMEs to tackle their digitalisation and sustainability challenges as well as remove further barriers to trade in the EU’s internal market.
On Wednesday, the Commission supplemented its Industry Strategy with a new Circular Economy Action Plan to make Europe’s economy green and sustainable. The new Circular Economy Action Plan build on the Commission’s 2015 Circular Economy Package which introduce a raft of legislation to reduce the industrial and household use of waste, packaging, plastics and batteries.
As such, the new Circular Economy Action Plan, as proposed by Frans Timmermans and Virginijus Sinkevičius from the Commission’s Green Deal team, sets out specific actions to review and update current waste reduction targets for plastics, packaging, food. Furthermore, a key pillar of the Action Plan is to ensure that products placed on the European markets are designed to last longer, are easier to reuse, repair and recycle, and incorporate as much as possible recycled material instead of primary raw material.
With dedicated initiatives, the Commission plans to specifically tackle such sustainability challenges in the electronics, food, textile and construction sectors through dedicated legislation over the coming three years.