In a press release published on April 1, 2020, the European Environment Agency (EEA) announced the publication of a new report investigating European country policies and approaches to improving resource efficiency in the shift towards a circular economy. The report analyzes the results of a survey completed by the EEA in 32 European countries and finds that there has been a shift since 2016 from the development of policies focused on improving resource efficiency towards consideration of a “broader circular economy perspective.” It also identifies a “general lack of target setting across Europe,” with respondent countries explaining that adopting national targets has faced political challenges. To overcome this, respondents said that universally accepted indicators addressing different circular economy aspects as well as a more comprehensive monitoring system would help.
The role of governments is found to be shifting from that of a regulator and enforcer towards being a facilitator and promoter with increased stakeholder engagement and a common reliance on voluntary agreements. The European Union’s role is seen as primarily providing a policy framework to support cohesion among similar policy areas and to adjust EU financial mechanisms to support activities related to a circular economy transition. Some stakeholders within society are noted as being disadvantaged by the transition towards a circular economy, and the EEA report calls for these groups to be identified and have their needs addressed through appropriate policy and innovation.
EEA (April 1, 2020). “Robust monitoring and targets are key in shifting Europe to a more circular economy.”
EEA (April 1, 2020). “Resource efficiency and the circular economy in Europe 2019 – even more from less.” (pdf)