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EU pilot scheme to break regulatory barriers to innovation

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission issued calls for expressions of interest on Thursday from projects contributing to EU plans on the circular economy, in a pilot scheme to break down regulatory barriers to innovation.

Innovation Deals, a new pilot scheme launched by the European Commission today, aim to help innovators with promising solutions to environmental issues overcome what they perceive as regulatory challenges to bringing their ideas to market.

The Commission says the selected projects will benefit from access to a close cooperation framework bringing together national, local and EU regulatory bodies to help navigate regulatory requirements. This pilot is intended to support innovative ideas for maintaining the value of products, materials and resources in the economy.

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans said the Innovation Deals launch was "a new way of working which brings together our circular economy and better regulation goals." The Commission is, he says, "testing a new way of giving practical and pragmatic support to a small number of innovators who want to bring valuable projects to market in Europe for the benefit of our citizens and our environment. Addressing regulatory barriers and providing regulatory certainty is essential to keep Europe at the cutting edge of the green economy."

Evidence shows that almost two-thirds of perceived regulatory barriers currently preventing innovators from bringing their ideas to the market can be overcome through explanations or clearer interpretation of specific regulations by public authorities.

By looking at concrete cases the Commission is looking to focus on unintended obstacles that may be generated by EU legislation or through its implementation by national governments. The scheme takes the form of voluntary guidance and cooperation between innovators, stakeholders, regulatory authorities and the Commission.

The call for expressions of interest is open until 15 September 2016. Any innovator or group of innovators seeking to introduce a circular economy-related product or service to the market can apply to participate in an Innovation Deal by setting out the regulatory obstacles they are struggling to overcome.

The Commission will rank the proposals based on clearly defined criteria and will select up to five Expressions of Interest to become Innovation Deals. The implementation of the selected deals will start in January 2017. The Commission does not provide any funding for the implementation of these projects, which are based on a practical cooperation model.

Innovation Deals for a Circular Economy


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