An interview with Maria Nikolopoulou, member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) from the Workers' Group, representing the Spanish trade union Comisiones Obreras. She is currently one of the Vice Presidents of the NAT Bureau and member of the Steering Group of the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform.
The transition to a Circular Economy is high on the EESC agenda as a solution to fight the climate crisis and protect our planet. It is a great opportunity for civil society as it can help to:
- increase the competitiveness of European industry;
- promote sustainable economic growth;
- generate new jobs.
The 'take-make-waste' model of production and consumption that still dominates our economy today is not only culminating in wasted resources, but also undermining the fight against climate change. Unlike the linear economy, a Circular Economy is a regenerative and restorative design that focuses on economic value creation and retention, tackling global environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution while yielding economic benefits.
The good news is that the circular transition is already happening on the ground. Stakeholders from civil society including businesses, trade unions, academia and knowledge communities, youth organisations as well as NGOs and other interest groups are creating and implementing many circular initiatives at local and regional level. Catalysing circular solutions and leadership from relevant stakeholders is Europe's best opportunity to accelerate the transition to a Circular Economy.
As such, the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform, a joint initiative of the EESC and the European Commission, is a platform established in 2017 to bring together the Circular Economy community in Europe. The stakeholder-driven platform supports Europe's transition towards a Circular Economy by fostering dialogue, sharing knowledge and exchanging best practices.
In an annual conference held entirely online on 3-4 November, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) voiced its determination to help make the Circular Economy Platform a real hub of the collective effort to build a circular economy in Europe.
The COVID-19 crisis has created the conditions for circular products and services to become the norm in Europe, says the EESC. In a recent opinion on the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan, the EESC urges lawmakers to ensure the circular economy finds a place and resources in the overall "greenprint" for Europe's recovery.
The Finnish presidency of the Council of the EU will place the fight against climate change high on its agenda. One of the challenges will be to unite the 28 Member States around this fight and focus on the opportunities that a more sustainable Europe can provide for economic, social and environmental progress.
More than 350 circular economy stakeholders from across Europe shared their success stories and the challenges they face during the second day of the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee on 7 March 2019.
The advantages of sorting and recycling plastics must become tangible for European citizens, says the EESC
Opening the Circular Economy Stakeholder Conference at the European Commission on February 20, the President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Georges Dassis, said: "the transition to a circular economy is a great opportunity for civil society. It is already happening on the ground. We can feel it from the commitment and involvement of our businesses, the many initiatives taking place at local and regional level, ...
In March 2017, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) launched a joint European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform (ECESP). The platform’s 24-member coordination group has now been chosen and the list of participants published.