Meeting Europe’s resource challenge within and beyond EU borders
This Policy Paper is a contribution of Annika Ahtonen and Andrea Frontini (EPC), to the project Think Global – Act European (TGAE). Thinking strategically about the EU’s external action directed by Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute (report available in May 2013, dir. Elvire Fabry, Senior Research Fellow, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute).
The European Union (EU) faces a serious resource challenge. It is dependent on external sources of energy and other raw materials, and this makes it vulnerable to resource availability and price fluctuations. If not managed, this could have serious implications for Europe and its competitiveness, for public and private sectors, for citizens and for overall European well-being.
The EU takes environmental challenges seriously, at least on paper, and has developed a number of internal policies and initiatives to tackle problems related to loss of biodiversity, inefficient use of resources and poor waste management. It is widely recognized that the EU should work together to tackle the energy challenge. At the same time, the EU has a two-fold approach to the external dimensions of resource challenges. Firstly, the EU has made sustainable development a fully-fledged component of its own narrative worldwide. Secondly, as do all actors, it has an interest in protecting its self-interests amidst increasing global competition over resources. However, in order to tackle the resource challenge effectively, the EU must both turn words into action within Europe and clarify its external strategy and the means to implement it.
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This project is led with the contribution of