The social market economy is by nature based upon making the best use of resources, whether human resources, energy or raw materials. The social market economy model is also based on the responsible and sustainable use of the environment. In order to increase our competitiveness and efficiency in the use of scarce resources, we have to minimise the leakage of valuable resources from our economy. Increasing recycling, re-use, recovery and paying attention to product design can achieve this. In essence, this is nothing new, since European businesses are constantly striving towards a more efficient use of resources and energy to give them a competitive advantage in global markets. The circular economy has been developed in a number of areas of our societies. The advantages for consumers, businesses, the environment and our economies are clear, provided we can do it on a commercial and market- orientated basis.
Now it is time for the European Union to support changes that simplify regulations, create incentives for using more secondary recycled raw materials and encourage investing in circular business models. According to the 2014 impact assessment by the European Commission conducted on the legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU, the economic benefits are clear. We are looking at a potential GDP boost, new jobs being created in the EU and reducing the EU’s reliance on imported raw materials and energy. Thereby, we can increase our competitiveness and reduce the input of raw materials. Achieving greater competitiveness and the more efficient use of resources can create technological and environmental market leaders in our industries.
A more circular economy will benefit us all. It will create badly needed jobs in Europe, make us more efficient, support our cleantech companies in becoming global leaders and make us less dependent on imported energy and raw materials. All of us, employees, consumers, businesses and citizens alike, need these benefits.
We, as the EPP, support a new and more ambitious package. In our vision the new Circular Economy package will simplify regulations concerning businesses, establish the necessary regulations and incentives to support the creation of a well-functioning market for secondary recycled raw materials, and introduce measures to boost our resource efficiency through market mechanisms. The proposal needs to be realistic, market-orientated and must support growth by facilitating small and big companies in developing their activities, and by supporting our industry as a whole in increasing efficiency, profits and jobs.
In order to facilitate a more circular economy, we need to focus on simplifying regulations, thereby facilitating the creation of a sound and well-functioning market for recycled materials and creating accurate and usable definitions so that new markets can work without undue hindrance and support from public fiscal resources. In addition to creating well-functioning secondary recycled raw material markets, it is important to encourage the clustering of industries that can use each other’s by-products as a resource in production and new kinds of innovative business models which are based on leasing.
In this position paper we outline the key political guidelines upon which we want the new Circular Economy package to be built.
The European People’s Party: