EU progressing towards green economy but long-term focus needed says EEA
The global economic crisis, soaring commodity prices and growing awareness of humanity's impact on the environment have pushed the 'green economy' concept into mainstream policy debate, says the European Environment Agency (EEA).
According to a new report by the EEA, this increased awareness has enabled EU policy makers to successfully agree a wide range of 'green' policies.
However, the report, 'Towards a green economy in Europe', highlights how implementing these policies is creating a barrier to future progress.
The report looks at the environmental targets and objectives established by EU legislation for the period 2010-2050.
EEA executive director, Hans Bruyninckx, said: "This report shows that while we have been successful in agreeing a wide range of policies to protect the environment, implementing these policies remains a challenge.
"We are making some progress towards the EU aim of creating a green economy, but we need to keep the pressure on up to 2020 and beyond," he added.
The report identifies 63 legally binding targets and 68 non-binding objectives set out in EU policy covering the period 2010-2050.
Of the 63 legally-binding targets, 62 have their deadlines in 2020 or before. The EEA says most of the current targets and objectives can be seen as interim steps towards a transition to a green economy, because in most cases eradicating the problems will require "longer-term efforts beyond 2020".