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The Greek Circular Economy approach: Mapping Circular Economy policies, instrument, initiative & action plans in the public sector

Phoebe Koundouri (), Lena Tsipouri, Lydia Papadaki () and Maria Argirou
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Lena Tsipouri: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Maria Argirou: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

No 1907, DEOS Working Papers from Athens University of Economics and Business

Abstract: This paper aims to assist the Greek Authorities in using its Smart Specialisation Strategy (SSS) thus facilitating and accelerating the transition of the country to the Circular Economy (CE). The combination of these two EU priority strategies and policies, totally distinct in terms of timing and primary target poses significant challenges in terms of methodology, prioritisation and project coordination. Greece is lagging significantly behind the EU average in its transition to the CE; it needs significant acceleration to catch up. Its main advantage are good research skills. Monitoring indicators, European Semester recommendations, fines by the Court of Justice and national/international NGO assessments leave no doubt for that. Given this backwardness the country is caught in a vicious circle of ambitious, yet unrealistic catching up plans. The Smart Specialisation Strategies conceived at regional and national level did not address the CE directly, but Energy, Environment and the Agri-food sector are among their priorities giving them the opportunity to incorporate CE actions during the implementation. However, due to administrative delays and path-dependencies the SSS had a less decisive role than planned for. The pilot exercise aspires to identify a list of potential CE-related activities in all SSS and Sectoral Operational Programmes studied. Despite actual difficulties because of the late and first-time design of SSS the methodology appears as a valuable tool to convert actions towards long-term, profitable choices using regional competitive advantages coupling classic financial and awareness raising incentives with new instruments like financial engineering and green public procurement. The merit of this coupling is the recognition of challenges and the early discussions with stakeholders when designing the SSS revision. The main lesson drawn from the Greek exercise is that the CE transition can be accelerated and become profitable, while using the cross-referencing methodology of SSS and CE strategy goals adapted for the needs and competitive advantages of each country or region proves a very helpful tool in the endeavour to accelerate the passage from the linear to the circular economy.

Date: 2019-12-20
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