EU Environment and Climate Ministers support a shift towards a truly circular economy

17th July 2019 | News

Following agreement of the European Council’s strategic agenda 2019-2024, which appears promising for social enterprises active in the circular economy, Member States again expressed their willingness to go deeper in implementing the circular economy. On 12 July 2019 [1] the environment ministers reached a consensus that ’the goal must be a society that does not squander natural resources but creates new business opportunities from scarcity and problem solving. Manufacturing and consumption must be based on six Rs of sustainability: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycle’ [2].

RREUSE welcomes the dedication from the new Presidency of the Council of the EU, now held by Finland until the end of December 2019, to setting climate crisis mitigation high on the agenda and understanding that a more ambitious circular economy is one of the solutions to reach the Paris Agreement.

In particular, EU Environment and Climate Ministers stated that “New measures are needed especially in areas related to construction, textiles, mobility and food”. RREUSE could not agree more and would suggest adding furniture and other household goods on this list. EU member states are currently undergoing transposition of the EU Waste Framework Directive [3], where setting targets to support the re-use and preparation for re-use of unwanted yet re-usable goods should be top priority and where the new law gives scope for doing so.

RREUSE also encourages the Finish Presidency to follow the European Commission’s plan to make the circular economy go beyond waste management and change the EU Product Policy to make goods more durable, re-usable, repairable and recyclable [4], as it has already been the case for certain electronic products [5]. Favouring these activities instead of landfilling and incineration is the best way to create local, formative, inclusive and sustainable jobs, notably when social enterprises are involved.


[1] European Council, Environment Council configuration (ENVI) (Available here)
[2] Finland’s Presidency  of the Council of the European Union (2019), EU Environment and Climate Ministers: EU must speed up ambitious policy on circular economy (Available here)
[3] RREUSE (2019), Position on the updated EU Waste Framework Directive (Available here)
[4] European Commission (2019), Commission Staff Working Document – Sustainable Products in a Circular Economy – Towards an EU Product Policy Framework contributing to the Circular Economy (Available here)
[5] RREUSE (2019), Opinion: Repairing electronics shouldn’t be rocket science (Available here)


Picture credit © Viivi Myllylä/Prime Minister’s Office, Finland –