In recent years, the topic of resource efficiency has increasingly attracted the attention of policymakers not only in Germany, but at the European level as well. The European Commission has made resource efficiency an important element of the EU's environmental and economic policies in accordance with the Sixth Environment Action Programme (6th EAP) and its aim to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.
The European Parliament's resolutions on an effective raw materials strategy for Europe (2011) and on the roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe (2012) go in the same direction. These activities aim to implement a coherent European action framework for increasing resource efficiency.
Thematic strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources
On 21 December 2005, the European Commission produced a communication on the EU thematic resource strategy. The objective of the strategy is to reduce the environmental impacts associated with resource use. It covers a period of 25 years, from 2006 to 2030.
Flagship initiative "A resource-efficient Europe" (2011)
The flagship initiative "A resource-efficient Europe" is one of the Commission's seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy. The initiative provides a long-term framework for actions in many policy areas, supporting policy agendas for climate change, energy, transport, industry, raw materials, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity and regional development. This increases certainty for investment and innovation and ensures that all relevant policies factor in resource efficiency in a balanced manner.
Roadmap to a resource-efficient Europe
On 20 September 2011, the European Commission finally published its roadmap to a resource efficient Europe which serves to implement the resource-efficient Europe flagship initiative. The resource-efficiency roadmap sets out a long-term vision for Europe: by 2050, the EU's economy is to respect the scarcity of resources and the limits of the Earth's capacity, and the resources targeted by the strategy are to be managed sustainably.