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Brussels, 26 January 2011

Smarter use of scarce resources: Commission launches flagship initiative for sustainable growth

Natural resources, from raw materials to food, water, air and ecosystems, are fundamental to the functioning of our economy and our quality of life. But global strains on them are increasing. Building a more resource-efficient Europe is therefore crucial to the EU’s economic and ecological security. The European Commission today set out its views on a strategic framework that should deliver a more sustainable use of natural resources and the shift towards resource-efficient, low-carbon growth in Europe.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, who steered the launch of this initiative, said: "Continuing our current patterns of resource use is not an option. They put too much pressure on our planet and make our economy more dependent on external supplies. A smarter use of scarce resources is therefore a strategic necessity, but also an economic opportunity. Through more resource-efficiency, clearer long-term policies and joint investments in green innovation, we are strengthening the basis for growth and jobs for our citizens and delivering on our climate and energy objectives.”


This strategy is the seventh and last of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives which aim at building smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for Europe. It establishes resource efficiency as the guiding principle for EU policies on energy, transport, climate change, industry, commodities, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity and regional development. By using synergies across these policy-areas, the strategy will be instrumental in reaching a variety of EU objectives, from reducing European greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050 to reforming the agricultural and fisheries sectors, from reducing food insecurity in developing countries to making the Union more resilient to future rises in global energy and commodity prices.

The strategy already lists a number of specific initiatives to be tabled in 2011, e.g.:

  • A low-carbon economy roadmap 2050;

  • A 2020 energy efficiency plan;

  • A white paper on the future of transport;

  • An energy roadmap 2050

  • A roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe;

  • Reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, Cohesion Policy, energy infrastructure and trans-European transport networks;

  • A new EU biodiversity strategy for 2020;

  • Measures regarding commodity markets and on raw materials.

The Commission will now make concrete proposals in these policy areas. Their implementation will be monitored in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy.

For more information

MEMO/11/43 discusses a number of resource efficiency considerations and highlights best practices by Member States, businesses and international partners.

Europe 2020 website:

Resource-efficient Europe:

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