Majority of MEPs vote to save Circular Economy Package, but it looks in vain


A majority of MEPs voted last week to save the Circular Economy Package, but it looks unlikely it will make any difference.

As reported by Resource Efficient Business on Wednesday, the various political groupings of MEPs were unable to agree to a joint resolution on the European Commission’s Work Programme 2015 and that meant that each of them put forward its own resolution.


Unsurprisingly, each one of these resolutions was defeated when it came to the vote.

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Although most groups had condemned the withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package in their resolutions, the largest group – the European People’s Party – had not and agreement could not be reached on a compromise in negotiations.

However, MEPs from the Socialist & Democrats, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and Greens/European Free Alliance voted in favour of individual amendments criticising the withdrawal of the Circular Economy Package and a similar one on air quality.

These votes on the amendments received narrow majorities despite almost all of the European People’s Party and European Conservatives and Reformists voting against them.

However, the European Commission is likely to ignore these amendments as it is under no compulsion to respond with changes to its Work Programme 2015 and the Circular Economy Package is likely to be withdrawn as planned.

This could have been the case even if the European Parliament has agreed on a single resolution, but under those circumstances, the Commission would have been under more pressure to address the concerns of MEPs.

Socialists & Democrats vice president Enrique Guerrero Salom said: “We have made it clear that there are urgent legislative proposals which should not be withdrawn by the Commission.

“These relate to air quality legislation, the waste package and the Maternity Leave Directive, for which our group has fought so hard over recent years. We are proud that a majority could be found in the Parliament for these important dossiers not to be withdrawn.”

Liberal Democrat MEP, and Alliance of Liberals and Democrats member Catherine Bearder added: “A clear majority of MEPs have signalled that they don’t want to see a weakening of EU proposals on waste and air quality.

“This sends a simple message to the Commission, yes to better regulation but not at the expense of our environment.

“Businesses and the public are crying out for action to put our economies on a more sustainable footing. The Commission must deliver for them now.”

The European Commission announced in December that it will withdraw the Circular Economy Package and replace it with a “more ambitious” programme by the end of this year.