European Union legislation has established more than 130 separate environmental targets and objectives to be met between 2010 and 2050. Together, these can provide useful milestones supporting Europe’s transition towards a ‘green economy’, according to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). - Jul 25, 2013
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This report shows that while we have been successful in agreeing a wide range of policies to protect the environment, implementing these policies remains a challenge. We are making some progress towards the EU aim of creating a green economy, but we need to keep the pressure on up to 2020 and beyond.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director
The ‘green economy’ has emerged as a priority in policy debate in recent years. But what does the concept mean in practice and how can one measure progress towards this strategic goal? A new EEA report, ‘Towards a green economy in Europe’, provides some answers. It does so through a comprehensive overview of environmental targets and objectives established by EU legislation for the period 2010–2050 and by providing examples of analysis of progress towards achieving them.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: “This report shows that while we have been successful in agreeing a wide range of policies to protect the environment, implementing these policies remains a challenge. We are making some progress towards the EU aim of creating a green economy, but we need to keep the pressure on up to 2020 and beyond.”
The report identifies 63 legally binding targets and 68 non-binding objectives set out in EU policy covering the period 2010–2050. Of the 63 legally-binding targets, 62 have their deadlines in 2020 or before. Most of the current targets and objectives can be seen as interim steps towards a transition to a green economy, because in most cases eradicating the problems will require longer-term efforts beyond 2020.
The ‘green economy’ is an economic model which aims to increase prosperity by using resources efficiently as well as maintaining the resilience of the natural systems that sustain societies. With its 'Environmental indicator report 2012', the EEA undertook its first analysis of Europe’s progress in the transition towards a green economy, using indicators to assess resource efficiency and to address ecosystem resilience. The findings show a mixed performance, although they suggest that Europe has made more progress in improving resource efficiency than preserving ecosystem resilience.
The new overview is useful as a comprehensive basis for reviewing progress in the past, and for considering the prospects for meeting future environmental policy objectives and targets.
Progress towards environmental targets in Europe