Making the use of by-products mandatory in the EU
New expert opinion sees need for action in European public procurement law
Duisburg, 17th November 2020. Environmental protection, resource conservation and sustainability have been declared EU objectives for many years. Examples are the Green Deal of December 2019 and the Circular Economy Action Plan of March 2020. An important instrument for this is the European Waste Framework Directive, which defines, among other things, the importance of by-products such as iron and steel slag that contribute to waste prevention. However, in order to be able to implement environmental policy projects successfully, European public procurement law must be amended to include binding requirements for public procurement geared to the circular economy. The aim is to achieve a comprehensive authorisation of secondary building materials and their conditional prioritisation in public procurement tenders. This is the conclusion of an expert legal opinion by the law firm Kopp-Assenmacher & Nusser, which was commissioned by the FEhS Institute for Building Materials Research and EUROSLAG, the European Association of Manufacturers of Iron and Steel Slag.
Kopp-Assenmacher & Nusser’s environmental law experts based in Berlin and Düsseldorf propose four amendments to the European Public Procurement Directive. A new third paragraph in Article 18 should enshrine the fundamental importance of environmental criteria in the award of public contracts. Furthermore, it is requested that “aspects of environmental protection, the circular economy and resource conservation” be made mandatory in the specification of services in a new Article 42a. This also includes low-waste production, for example of by-products. Article 67, which regulates the award criteria, must also be extended accordingly: the new paragraph 2a provides for these same environmental criteria to be taken into account when assessing the price-performance ratio. If procurement authorities do not allow products, objects and substances under Article 42a, this would have to be justified under a new paragraph of Article 84 using award notices.
Thomas Reiche, Chairman at EUROSLAG and Managing Director of the FEhS Institute: “What we criticised at national level when the Circular Economy Act was amended, is also missing at crucial points in European public procurement law: specific, legally certain formulations which oblige public sector purchasers to comprehensively authorise and conditionally prioritise by-products or secondary raw materials. Only these optimisations of the legal framework mentioned in the report guarantee that public procurement in Europe is aligned with the environmental policy guidelines: promotion of the circular economy and conservation of resources. We hope that appropriate steps to amend the public procurement law will be taken under the German EU Council Presidency”.
The building materials and fertilisers from the steel industry have already been making an important contribution to the conservation of natural resources for many decades. In Germany alone, the use of iron and steel slag has prevented the mining of over a billion tonnes of natural rock.
About the FEhS Institute:
For seven decades, the FEhS Institute for Building Materials Research has been one of Europe’s leading addresses for research, testing and consulting on iron and steel slag, building materials and fertilisers. As a modern service provider, the experts with seven laboratories, the Construction Competence Forum and a network of industrial associations, public authorities, standardisation committees, as well as institutions from science and research, are a sought-after partner for members and customers from all over the world.
EUROSLAG brings together 26 organisations and companies from 17 countries. As the European network for the production, use and development of iron and steel slag and slag-based products, EUROSLAG focuses on research and technology, standardisation at a European level and internal and external communication.
Exploiting opportunities to promote the circular economy
German EU Council Presidency 2020
Duisburg, 17 June 2020. With the “Green Deal” and the Circular Economy Action Plan, the European Union (EU) has set the course for an ecologically oriented economy in recent months. On 1 July 2020, Germany will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, followed by Portugal and Slovenia in the new Trio Presidency. EUROSLAG, the European Association for Iron and Steel Slag and Slag Products, sees this as a great opportunity to further promote topics such as resource conservation and the extraction of secondary raw materials and to bring them into a legal framework. Thomas Reiche, Chairman of EUROSLAG: “The first steps in the right direction have been taken at European level. Now it is important to finally establish market-proven industrial by-products as at least equivalent alternatives to primary raw materials. We hope that Germany will take corresponding initiatives in the European Council as a driving force for the EU”.
For Reiche, who is also Managing Director of FEhS – Institute for Building Materials Research, even a preference for secondary raw materials should be legally stipulated in public tenders: “Anyone who takes the circular economy and sustainability seriously must give preference to iron and steel slag and other secondary raw materials that are equally suitable over natural resources, whose deposits are rapidly decreasing worldwide. In Germany alone, for example, more than one billion tonnes of stone, crushed stone and gravel have been substituted by aggregates and granulated blast furnace slag from iron and steel slag in cement, concrete and road construction in the last seven decades. In addition, the use of granulated blast furnace slag in cement has saved over 200 million tonnes of CO2“. Especially in the wake of the corona pandemic, it is essential that the circular economy be seen as a central guideline for political action in the new orientation, Reiche continued. Unfortunately, the current economic stimulus package of the Federal Government has not consistently used this opportunity.
About the European Council
The European Council is composed of the Heads of State or Government of the individual Member States and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. The meetings of the Council, which is responsible, among other things, for formulating general EU policy objectives and the final negotiations on EU legislation, are known as EU summits. The Presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every six months among the Member States. Its tasks include chairing meetings of the Council and its preparatory committees and working groups. The new Trio Presidency, in which the partners work closely together, is intended to ensure greater continuity in European policy.
EUROSLAG is based in Duisburg and brings together 26 organisations and companies from 16 countries, including the FEhS Institute and the Fachverband Eisenhüttenschlacken (Technical Association for Ferrous Slag) from Germany. As the European network for the production, use and development of iron and steel slag and slag-based products, EUROSLAG focuses on research and technology, standardisation at a European level and internal and external communication. Every two years EUROSLAG organises a conference of the same name, which will be taking place in Cologne in 2021.
About the FEhS-Institute
For seven decades the FEhS-Institute for Construction Materials Research has been one of Europe’s leading addresses for research, testing and consulting on ferrous slags, building materials and fertilisers. As a modern service provider, the experts with seven laboratories, the Construction Competence Forum and a network of industrial associations, public authorities, standardisation committees, as well as institutions from science and research, are a sought-after partner for members and customers from all over the world.
Better framework conditions for iron and steel slags
10th EUROSLAG Conference calls for fair treatment of ferrous slags
Assumption of tasks of the Blast Furnace Lime Association as of 1 April 2016
Assumption of tasks of the Blast Furnace Lime Association as of 1 April 2016
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