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European environment ministers call for resource efficiency target and circular economy

3 December 2014

European environment ministers have called for the European Commission to explore the introduction of an EU-wide non-binding aspirational resource efficiency target. Speaking in the European Environment Council, a sub-group (or configuration) of the European Council, the ministers further called for the promotion of circular economy principals and requested green employment to be included in the annual cycle of coordination of economic policies from 2015 onwards.

Following the Environment Council’s quarterly meeting in Luxembourg between the European environment ministers, outgoing Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, a conclusions document was published supporting recent European Commission programmes, such as the Europe 2020 Strategy, and Towards a Circular Economy: A zero waste programme for Europe. Programmes on sustainable buildings, green employment, green action for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and on building a single market for green products to facilitate information on environmental performance are also praised.

The document concludes: “Greening the economy contributes to long term prosperity, and short term costs are likely to be compensated by multiple potential benefits in terms of increased competitiveness, jobs, improvement of security of resource supply, including energy and raw materials, inclusiveness, health and well being. Therefore for our future competitiveness and long-term sustainable and inclusive growth, a transition towards a resource efficient circular economy […] becomes essential.”

For more information, download the Environment Council conclusions.