Governments comment on the new Circular Economy Package presented by the Commission

On 20 December, at the last Environment Council of 2022, Executive Vice-president for the European Green Deal Timmermans presented the latest work of the Commission to Member States’ environment ministers, giving space for a debate on the different subjects addressed.
After a debate on the Nature Restoration Law proposal among EU environment ministers, the Commission presented the zero-pollution package that includes proposals to revise legislation on air quality, on priority substances in surface and groundwater and on urban wastewater treatment. EU executives also explained what is covered by the new circular economy package, which includes proposals to revise the packaging and waste packaging legislation and a proposal for a new legislation on carbon removal certification, as well as a policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics.
On Carbon removals, most of the governments’ representatives welcomed the proposal and focused their attention on having clearly defined carbon removal activities with their respective specific methodology rules, while some expressed concerns on double counting, the permanence of the removals and possible disincentive for land managers. Few ministers also expressed doubts regarding the Commission’s approach on completing the specific rules governing the certificates through Delegated Acts, suggesting to include them directly in the proposal.
Ministers also took the floor to give their views on the packaging and packaging waste proposed regulation, which was met with more criticism. Member States expressed their worries about rules concerning extended producer responsibility and on recyclability targets, which were deemed too ambitious. Ministers also recognised that some rules could jeopardize the proper functioning of already existing systems.
Concerning the Communication on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics, ministers called on the Commission to develop a separate legislative measure as a follow-up, stating that future regulation on this topic will be needed.