(6 May 2020) The European Commission adopted a European union circular economy action plan in March 2020. EPSU organised a discussion with Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Commissioner responsible. We used the opportunity to:
- Underline the work of Europe’s public service workers in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic and especially those working in environmental services like in water and waste collection
- Express our support for moving to a circular economy. The European Commission’s circular economy action plan assists us in getting there.
- Raise the concerns for Europe unions. We demanded that the Commission integrates Occupational Safety and Health measures in the plan, underlines the role of employers and trade unions in discussing how to realise the circular economy via social dialogue in the sectors and workplaces and stressed the role of local and regional authorities in moving towards a circular economy
- Follow up on the European Citizens’ Initiative Human Right to Water, the implementation of the revised Drinking Water Directive and the state of play on the Water Frame Work Directive.
The Commissioner expressed his support for the many workers in the frontline of fighting COVID19.
“The challenge right now is to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to make sure everyone is safe whether at home or at work, as we prepare the necessary shift to a circular economy. Our coordinated response will ensure the required health and safety measures for workers and protection for consumers benefiting from the European Commission Circular Economy Action Plan.”
The Commissioner stressed the importance of social dialogue and agreed to remain in discussion as there are many separate EU proposals to achieve the circular economy. The Commission will take account of the voice of Europe’s workers. Making the changes to achieve the circular economy starts at the workplaces.
For EPSU participated the General secretary, Guillaume Durivaux responsibe for public utilities and company policy, Paola Panzeri, responsible for Local and Regional Governments and gender equality officer and Pablo Sanchez, communication and campaign officer
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