What changes could have the biggest impact? Read our selection for July 2024:

EU elections: implications of the results
Global recycling: Austria ranks first

EU elections: implications of the results 

The European elections took place from 6 to 9 June 2024, during which 400 million Europeans cast their votes to elect 720 MEPs.

The elections decided who will represent EU citizens in the Parliament and kickstarted negotiations for the new President of the European Commission.

Renewed majority

For the past five years, a three-group majority of the centre-right European People’s Party, the centre-left Socialists and Democrats, and the liberals Renew Europe has governed parliament. Despite losing some seats, these groups are on course for a renewed majority.

The first plenary session of the new legislative term will take place from 16 to 19 July in Strasbourg, prior to which the newly elected Members will form political groups based on shared political ideas.

During this first plenary session, the Parliament will elect its new President, Vice-President and Quaestors, and decide on the setup of the parliamentary committees.

President of the European Commission

At a subsequent stage, the European Parliament will proceed to elect a new President of the European Commission. The Council has already nominated the incumbent president, Ursula von der Leyen, for a second five-year term.

Candidates for the role of Commissioner will then be subject to public hearings. To assume office, the newly elected Commission must secure the approval of Parliament in a plenary vote.

Hungarian presidency

Hungary has now taken over the presidency of the Council of the European Union, which rotates among the 27 EU Member States every six months. Hungary will hold the presidency between 1 July and 31 December 2024. The presidency is responsible for organising meetings and represents the Council in its relations with other EU institutions.

In the upcoming months, the revised direction of the European Union will become clearer.

It is likely that “new” topics will gain more prominence – such as defence, migration, resilience, digitalisation or trade – but sustainability and the circular economy will remain important topics. A variety of significant case files are awaiting final negotiations and adoption, and new initiatives will be announced later this year.

Global recycling: Austria ranks first

Reloop, Eunomia Research Consulting, the Welsh Government and industry players have released the Global Recycling League Table. The report examines the recycling performances of 48 countries to determine “which countries are the world’s best recyclers”.

The project compares a wide range of countries’ recycling rates on a like-for-like basis, with the focus on municipal waste recycling rates. The goal is to create a clearer understanding of the scale of the waste issue globally and regionally and contribute to national and supranational policy development.

Eight European countries are in the top 10, alongside Taiwan and South Korea, with Austria as the top performing country. Most European countries analysed are in the top half of the 48 countries.

The results can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

The good results by European countries show the positive effects of the longstanding EU strategies and policies to tackle waste and develop the circular economy, while many lower ranked countries come from the global south.

However, waste is an international problem that must be tackled through cooperation, and by sharing knowledge and best practice.

Landbell Group companies advocate for a global circular economy – for example, through close cooperation with countries in the global south (see article here) or participation in the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty (see article here).

Moreover, Landbell Group is engaged in multiple projects in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to establish effective waste management solutions (see below for more information).