Europe’s ecological footprint: living within our means
Unfortunately, the EU’s ten years growth strategy “Europe 2020” is lacking any direct reference to biodiversity. Nevertheless it includes a promising attempt to address the massive overuse of natural resources by introducing the Resource Efficiency Flagship Initiative. The EU recognises that the planetary boundaries are not only characterised by the climate system, but by a whole range of other ecosystem elements of equal importance, including biodiversity. Awareness is increasing that the turn-around to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and ecosystem friendly economy is the only sensible strategy to secure and improve Europe’s long-term economic sustainability. Unfortunately, EU Member States have so far not shown great support and enthusiasm in further developing and implementing the proposed measures.
Another important measure was the adoption of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) to prohibit placing illegally harvested timber on the EU market. EUTR will enter into force in March 2013, while there are still open questions regarding the efficient planning of its implementation.
It should be recognised also that the EU has presented a reform proposal to reduce the unsustainable exploitation of the world’s fish stocks through EU fleets. Unfortunately most EU Member States are fiercely opposed and are thus not only openly acting against any global or European biodiversity commitments, but also against any long-term economic sense . More on fisheries and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.