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Resource efficiency will "have to be a focus" for EU policy

A roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe “which could well be the foundation of future environmental policy” will be published next year, revealed European commissioner for environment Janez Potocnik.

In a closing speech at a conference in Brussels called ’Towards a genuine 7th Environmental Action Plan’, Potocnik spoke about the achievements of the 6th EAP but highlighted resource efficiency as a key area to look at in the near future.

He said: “We still produce too much waste…resources have to be a focus. Because our future will undoubtedly be resource constrained…while more and more we are decoupling our resource growth from resource extraction – ‘absolute’ resource growth and extraction is increasing. This negates any efficiency gains.

“From a strictly European point of view, we also need to consider the implications of these trends on our dependency on resource imports. We face greater supply risks through increased competition for land and for high-tech metals and even water.”

Potocnik urged delegates to help the EU develop even better environmental policy and legislation that will build a more integrated legislative picture. He said it was necessary to rethink environmental governance, creating responsive and flexible environmental policies.

“Who could look at issues of food, energy, water and health security, urban living or the designing of future use of natural capital in isolation? The EU has today much greener agricultural and maritime policies than when we adopted the 6th EAP. The same can be said about policies on energy efficiency and renewable energies, and cohesion policy today supports investments in green infrastructure and green technologies.”

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