EU presidency

Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

From 1 January to 30 June 2024, Belgium held the presidency of the Council of the European Union. OVAM took on an active role in this Belgian presidency.
EU Voorzitterschap

More information on the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

OVAM communication on the Belgian Presidency

  • (in Dutch) 
  • OVAM podcast (in Dutch): Episode 5, Season 1: What is Belgium's role as President of the Council of the EU and what role does OVAM play in this?
  • OVAM podcast (in English): Episode 3, Season 2: Special edition about the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Events coordinated by OVAM during the Belgian Presidency

No place for waste: OVAM organised a workshop on the future of European waste policy as part of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and calls for more focus on prevention
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On 13 and 14 June, OVAM organised a successful workshop on the future of the Waste Framework Directive. The workshop welcomed participants from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Environment Agency, EU Member States and relevant EU sectoral federations on the future of the EU Waste Framework Directive. 

The workshop started with a plenary session with welcoming remarks by Bart Somers, mayor of hosting city Mechelen and Zuhal Demir, Flemish minister for Justice and Enforcement, Environment, Energy and Tourism. In his keynote speech, Werner Annaert, CEO of OVAM highlighted OVAM's long-standing experience in waste policy, the importance of EU waste policy with the Waste Framework Directive as its cornerstone, and reflected on the challenges ahead that require a holistic approach. Karolina D'Cunha from the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment looked back at the achievements of the past five years in waste policy and circular economy. She also outlined opportunities to further improve the implementation of the EU Waste Framework Directive and stressed that transforming waste into raw materials is crucial for the competitiveness and resilience of the European Union, as well as for achieving the transition to a circular economy and a climate-neutral society. Almut Reichel of the European Environment Agency (EEA) explained that EEA studies and other recent analyses point to the need to feed less materials into our economy.

During a panel discussion, Stéphane Arditi from the European Environmental Bureau, Andreas Brieger from SMEUnited and Carin Lidman from the Council of European Municipalities and Regions put forward the views of civil society, business and local authorities on the challenges and opportunities to further strengthen EU policies on waste, sustainable resource management and circularity. Sustainable choices should become the most logical, simple and affordable choices for both citizens and businesses. Making repair affordable and scaling up circular business models so that they are competitive were two concrete solutions put forward. The combination of more harmonisation at EU level to give the right market signals while at the same time cooperation between the local level and local SMEs to allow consumers to access circular solutions was also highlighted.   

In the afternoon, participants covered the following topics in six breakout sessions: waste prevention - the waste hierarchy - waste/non-waste status - selective collection of biowaste - substances of concern in material cycles - incineration in a circular economy. 

More information
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The Belgian Presidency of the EU Council was pleased to play a pivotal role as a partner in the World Circular Economy Forum, reflecting the European Union's concerted efforts to transition towards a more sustainable and circular economy. 

To reach the climate goals a systemic change is needed and as President of the Council, from 1 January to 30 June 2024, Belgium lead the European agenda towards a circular society at all levels of society and promote cooperation among the Member States to reach those goals.

During the WCEF2024 Circular Flanders, Walloon Region, Brussels Region and the federal government, demonstrated how we evolved from experiments and frontrunners to a circular common practice in our companies, cities, knowledge institutes and citizens.

The Circular Economy Forum, a special accelerator session within the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2024), was held on April 17, 2024, at Square in Brussels, Flanders Belgium. Under the theme "Beyond Experimentation: Europe's Leading Role in Mainstreaming Circular Practice", this gathering brought together global stakeholders to explore and advance the adoption of circular economy principles. 

The Forum featured a dynamic program designed to showcase Europe's evolution from experimental initiatives to fully integrating circular practices across all sectors of society. 

Participants were able to delve into policy perspectives, research insights, and real-world case studies aimed at dismantling the linear economy and accelerating the transition towards circularity. The focus on circular economy during the European presidency is self-evident for Flanders Circular. 

The newly published comparative study in Waste Management & Research shows that Belgium leads the EU in terms of transition to a circular economy.

Relive the BE Circular Economy Forum 2024 (Official website)
Circular economy in Belgium: Beyond experimentation (Video)

Common Forum on contaminated land – Belgian Soil Week

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During the Soil week, Belgian regional administrations in charge of Soil health in cooperation with international expert networks proposed a set a various initiatives. These initiatives addressed soil health challenges through diverse angles, providing different perspectives on current and future soil management practices. 

- Belgian regions Belgian Regional Administrations and COMMON FORUM joint event on Soil Management initiatives (national and European perspectives) (11/03) 
- COMMON FORUM springtime meeting (12/03) 
- NICOLE & COMMON FORUM joint workshop (13/03) 
- 5th ENSOr Conference (14 & 15/03)

5th ENSOr Conference (14 & 15/03/2024): International workshop on Emerging policy challenges on New SOil contaminants (ENSOr). For the fifth edition of the ENSOr conference, we set our sights on challenges for diffuse contaminations with emerging contaminants.

Files where OVAM is involved


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