What is the European ambition?

In Europe, the urgency and importance of a transition to a circular economy has been well-known by the governments. As a result of this, various goals have been set by the EU to create a more circular system. A government-wide vision has been designed with a set of concrete ambitions for the EU to work on a circular economy.

EU Green Deals

The European Green Deal, which is the EU's new growth strategy and a roadmap, is a set of policy initiatives for making their economy sustainable. The main ambition is to make Europe climate-neutral, and decouple economic growth from resource use while protecting their ecosystem by 2050.

It has been stated that this will happen by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas and ensuring a just and inclusive transition for all.

Below actions together with investments needed and financing tools available are provided with a roadmap by The European Green Deal;

  • boost the efficient use of resources through circular economy

  • restore biodiversity and cut pollution.

Along with the other net-zero ambitions, the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy is one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal.

EU Circular Economy Action Plan

In recent years, the European Commission has stepped up to promote the transition to a circular economy with the Circular Economy Action Plan. As part of the European Green Deal , The first Circular Economy Action Plan was launched in 2015 and followed by the revisions the new Circular Economy Action Plan has recently been announced, in March 2020.[1]

The revised plan aims to identify required actions/adjustments on legislation, reporting, documentation and strategic support in order to facilitate adaptation of the circular economy in product value chains by taking measures covering the entire life cycle. In the context of the plan, 8 priority sectors with significant potentials have been identified in order to speed up the transition along the entire value chain.

Key actions that aim to keep resources as long as possible in the EU economy are summarized under the relevant topics as below;


Legislative proposal for a sustainable product policy initiative

Legislative proposal empowering consumers in the green transition

Legislative and non-legislative measures establishing a new “right to repair”

Legislative proposal on substantiating green claims

Mandatory Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria and targets in sectoral legislation and phasing-in mandatory reporting on GPP

Integration of circular economy practices in upcoming Best Available Techniques reference documents

Launch of an industrial symbiosis reporting and certification system


Circular Electronics Initiative, common charger solution, and reward systems to return old devices

Review of the Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and guidance to clarify its links with REACH and Ecodesign requirements

Proposal for a new regulatory framework for batteries

Review of the rules on end-of-life vehicles

Review of the rules on proper treatment of waste oils

Review to reinforce the essential requirements for packaging and reduce (over)packaging and packaging waste

Mandatory requirements on recycled plastic content and plastic waste reduction measures for key products such as packaging, construction materials and vehicles

Restriction of intentionally added microplastics and measures on unintentional release of microplastics

Policy framework for bio-based plastics and biodegradable or compostable plastics

EU Strategy for Textiles

Strategy for a Sustainable Built Environment

Initiative to substitute single-use packaging, tableware and cutlery by reusable products in food services


Waste reduction targets for specific streams and other measures on waste prevention

EU-wide harmonised model for separate collection of waste and labelling to facilitate separate collection

Methodologies to track and minimise the presence of substances of concern in recycled materials and articles made thereof

Harmonised information systems for the presence of substances of concern

Scoping the development of further EU-wide end-of-waste and by-product criteria

Revision of the rules on waste shipments


Improving measurement, modelling and policy tools to capture synergies between the circular economy and climate change mitigation and adaptation at EU and national level

Regulatory framework for the certification of carbon removals

Reflecting circular economy objectives in the revision of the guidelines on state aid in the field of environment and energy

Leading efforts towards reaching a global agreement on plastics

Proposing a Global Circular Economy Alliance and initiating discussions on an international agreement on the management of natural resources

Mainstreaming circular economy objectives in free trade agreements, in other bilateral, regional and multilateral processes and agreements, and in EU external policy funding instruments


Updating the Circular Economy Monitoring Framework to reflect new policy priorities and develop further indicators on resource use, including consumption and material footprints