An Accelerated Transition to the Circular Economy

Resolution submitted by JEF Norway / PC2 – Internal European Affairs
Adopted by the Federal Committee in London on 23 March 2019. Re-adopted and amended by the European Congress in Liège on 21 November 2021


Europe’s consumption of energy and natural resources is disproportionally high, leading to an unacceptable ecological footprint. Every year, the EU’s inhabitants consume resources equivalent to that of the production of two and a half Earths. Furthermore, only about 12 percent of our resources consumed is used again. What is more, the EU is highly dependent on imports of raw materials, importing more than 1600 million tons of valuable raw materials each year. We know, however, that the extraction of raw materials accounts for a substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions as well as degrading vulnerable natural landscapes. In order to reduce our per capita footprint, mitigate climate change, and preserve resilient ecosystems, Europe must step up its transition to a truly Circular Economy, reducing waste, increasing resource productivity and regenerating natural resources.


JEF Europe,

  • Recalling JEF Europe’s resolutions “Environment does not stop at borders”; “Towards a green, globally competitive and digital European industry” and “A federal strategy for sustainable, safe and healthy food for all Europeans”
  • Recognising the European Commission strengthened ambitions on behalf of the Circular Economy, in particularly with the launch of the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), the Sustainable Products Initiative, the Right to Repair as well as the Ecodesign Directive;
  • Recognising positive movements in the European Parliament, maintaining a strong pressure for action, such as the committee report on the new circular economy action plan;
  • Welcoming the EU’s increased ambitions for European energy efficiency and emissions-reduction goals, in line with the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius;
  • Remains deeply concerned about the degree of wastefulness in the European economy. Only about 8 percent of the European economy is circular and in key sectors change is happening too slow. For instance, with a share of 33.5% of the total waste generated, the European construction sector was in 2014 responsible for approximately 870 million tonnes of the total waste generated (EPRS, 2017).
  • Highlighting the fact that there is an alternative model to the linear economy of ‘take-make-waste;
  • Recognising that a transition necessitates more than mere voluntary schemes and industry initiatives, demanding coordinated practices across business, government and civil society – and national boundaries;
  • Underlining the significant benefits associated with the Circular Economy, such as: reduced emissions, lower resource extraction rates, added jobs within re-use, recycling and regeneration businesses;
  • Highlighting that the transition to a more circular model of our economy has social consequences, and that actions need to be taken to ensure a fair transition for citizens, workers and regions;
  • Underlining that the circular economy can be a driver for the development of the European social pillar and European solidarity, both as a whole and for marginalized regions and segments of the population in particular.


JEF Europe, therefore,

  1. Invites the EU to address the key barriers to transitioning to a truly Circular Economy in Europe;
  2. Calls for an EU-wide tax reform that makes it beneficial to reuse, recycle, regenerate and use secondary raw materials, and that will support European projects for a circular economy;
  3. Calls for making this a just transition by integrating the aims of the Circular Economy in initiatives promoting better regulation, recovery initiatives, and initiatives funded through Just Transition Fund and Social Climate Fund specifically focused on helping regions whose economy is deeply dependent on heavy industries and fossil fuels as a main source of energy.
  4. Insists that the EU empowers consumers to recirculate their products, fully establishing the “right to repair”, that the EU Ecolabel is the default sustainability branding throughout the EU, and that information campaigns towards consumers and producers are intensified;
  5. Demands the mainstreaming of circular economy policies in free trade agreements, supporting bilateral and regional trade of secondary raw materials, and promoting EU-wide recycling of materials through harmonisation of regulation;
  6. Further calls for the EU to take stronger actions to reduce municipal waste and local impacts from waste and landfill pollution, mandating a standardized model for separate waste collection and setting EU-level waste reduction targets;
  7. Invites the EU to propose a coordinated waste management action plan in the EU, the lack of which complicates the long-term planning of material streams, trade and recycling across borders;
  8. Calls on the Commission to implement the ‘Renovation Wave’ initiative fully in line with the circular economy principles, while promoting the reuse of construction and demolition waste within the building sector through modular building design, deep renovations, on-site production, and reusability of all materials;
  9. Suggests that the EU implements material passports that provide information about the ecological footprint of each product, enabling seamless trade of sustainable and pollution-free secondary materials across borders;
  10. Calls for the EU to follow up with an implementation review during 2022, in line with the Circular Economy Monitoring Framework monitoring in particular the progress made on the Member States’ binding targets for circularity and recycling rates as well as making binding the ambitions in the Sustainable Products Initiative and the framework for ecodesign requirements.



  • EPRS (2017) Towards a Circular Economy – Waste Management in the EU European Union. Brussels: Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (European Parliament), Oakdene Hollins, Wuppertal Institute.