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Country profile (Cyprus)

What distinguishes the country?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 24 Nov 2010

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, situated at its north-eastern corner. Being at the intersection of important transport and communication routes it links Europe to the Middle East and Asia. The history of the island, being one of the oldest recorded in the world, was largely influenced by its geographic location. Its strategic position at the crossroads of three continents, as well as its considerable supplies of copper and timber in the past, combined to make it a highly desirable territorial acquisition. Over the centuries, Cyprus was conquered by various nations but managed to retain intact its Greek identity, language and culture. Its geographic position, the country’s island character, its isolation over the centuries from the mainland and its climatic conditions have all led to the creation of a great biological diversity and a significant number of native species.


Being an island, Cyprus is sufficiently isolated to have allowed the evolution of a strong endemic element. At the same time, being surrounded by big continents, it incorporates elements of the neighbouring land masses. About 7% of the indigenous plants of the island – 140 different species and subspecies – are endemic to Cyprus.

Today, the fauna of Cyprus includes some 7 species of land mammals, 26 species of amphibians and reptiles, 365 species of birds and a great variety of insects, while the coastal waters of the land give shelter to 197 fish species and various species of craps, sponges and echinodermata. The largest wild animal on the island is the Cyprus moufflon (Ovis gmelimi ophion), a rare type of wild sheep that can only be found in Cyprus.

Cyprus is used by millions of birds as a stopover during their migration from Europe to Africa and back. The main reason for that is the existence on the island of two wetlands with unique and international importance. The island’s sea creatures include seals and turtles. Two marine turtles, the Green turtle (Chelona mydas) and the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) breed regularly on the island’s sandy beaches and are strictly protected.


General: Cyprus has an intense Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers from mid-May to mid-September and rainy, rather changeable, winters from November to mid-March, which are separated by short autumn and spring seasons with rapid change in weather conditions. The climatic conditions of the country are influenced by its morphology, island character and geographic position. The central Troodos massif, rising to 1.951 metres and, to a lesser extent, the long narrow Kyrenia mountain range, with peaks of about 1.000 metres, play an important part in the meteorology of Cyprus.

Rainfall: Rainfall in the warmer months contributes little to water resources and agriculture. The small amounts which fall are rapidly absorbed by the very dry soil and soon evaporate in high temperatures and low humidities. Autumn and winter rainfall, on which agriculture and water supply generally depend, is somewhat variable. The average rainfall for the year as a whole is about 480 millimetres.

Trends in precipitation and temperature during the 20th century: During the 20th century remarkable variations and trends were observed in the climate of Cyprus, particularly in the two basic climatic parameters, precipitation and temperature. Specifically, the precipitation presented a decreasing and the temperatures an increasing trend. The rates of change of precipitation and temperature are greater during the second half of the century compared to those in the first half. In the last decades the number of years of low precipitation and drought are greater than before. The warmest years of the century were observed in the last 20 years.

The decrease in the amount of precipitation was considerable and occurred mainly in the second half of the century, as a result of the higher frequency of occurrence in the number of years of low precipitation and drought. While the average annual precipitation in the first 30-year period of the century was 559mm, the average precipitation in the last 30-year period was 462mm, which corresponds to a decrease of 17%. Precipitation levels are shown in figures 1 and 2. On the other hand, the average annual temperature in Cyprus, both in urban and rural areas presented an increasing trend, with an annual rate of increase of 0.01oC. The annual temperatures are given in figure 3.

Climatic conditions after 1990: The average annual precipitation in the period 1991/92 – 2007/08 (17 hydrometeorological years) is 457mm or 9% lower than normal (503mm, period 1960 – 1990). The average annual temperature in the period 1991 – 2007 is 17.7oC or 0.5oC higher than normal (17.2oC, period 1961 – 1990). According to the above rate of change, it is expected that by 2030 precipitation will decrease by 10 – 15% and temperature will increase by 1.0 – 1.5oC compared to the normal values for the period 1960 – 1990. This decline in rainfall and rise in temperatures is putting considerable pressure on the natural environment and water resources of the island.

[Source: Meteorological Service;]


Over the last couple of decades, all of Cyprus’s water resources were originating from rainfall. The rainfall is not uniformly distributed, while Cyprus is experiencing a big variation in rainfall from year to year, and also frequent droughts which often have a duration of two to three years.

Rivers: Most rivers originate in the Troodos area. The seasonal distribution of surface runoff follows the seasonal distribution of precipitation, with minimum values during the summer months and maximum values during the winter months. As a result of the climate, there are no rivers with perennial flow along their entire length. Most rivers flow 3 to 4 months a year and are dry during the rest of the year. Only parts of some rivers upstream in the Troodos areas have a continuous flow.

Lakes: As a result of the dry climate, there are only 5 natural lakes which are brackish or salt. The other water bodies are artificial, i.e. dams and reservoirs constructed for water storage. All the lakes in Cyprus can be characterized as dynamic systems. The natural salt and brackish lakes dry up regularly, but not every year. The amount of water in the reservoirs and storage basins is depending on the rainfall and use. The reservoirs are also mainly filled by the inflow of water from rivers. During winter, provided there is adequate precipitation, water is collected, most of which is during the summer period. Consequently, the water level and size of these lakes is variable. As the purpose of all reservoirs and storage basins is to provide water for drinking or irrigation, they often dry out.

Groundwater bodies: Most of the Island aquifers are phreatic, developed in river or coastal alluvial deposits. All the aquifers of Cyprus (66) have been grouped into 20 groundwater bodies, mainly based on lithology, the hydraulic characteristics, the pressures and the importance of each aquifer, as seen in figure 5.

Planning: Despite the progress made in the field of water development and the construction of dams, due to the increase in water demand and the declining rainfall trends as a result of climatic changes, the available water quantities for drinking and irrigation are not sufficient to meet demands, with adverse impacts on agriculture, the economy and the environment. As a result, the current focus of government policy is to decouple the water supply from rainfall through the maximum potential exploitation of non-conventional water resources, such as recycled water and desalination.

[Source: Water Development Department;]


The Cypriot economy is small, robust and fairly flexible, and has shown that it is capable of adapting to rapidly changing circumstances. In brief, the main characteristics of the Cyprus economy are the following:

  • The dominant role of the private sector in the production process, while the role of the state is a supportive one.
  • The small size of the domestic market, which constitutes an adverse factor in attaining economies of scale and in the development of satisfactory intersectoral relationships.
  • The small size of enterprises, which hinders the exploitation of economies of scale and the adoption of advanced technologies and modern methods of management, production, design and marketing.
  • The small size of the labour force and the shortages observed in technical and low-skilled occupations.
  • The openness of the economy, with total imports and exports of goods and services accounting to a significant percentage of the GDP.

The predominance and increasing importance of the services sectors. This development reflects the gradual restructuring of the Cyprus economy from an exporter of minerals and agricultural products, mainly copper, asbestos and citrus fruits in the period 1961-73 and an exporter of manufactured goods, mainly clothing and footwear, in the latter part of the 1970s and the early part of the 80s, to an international tourist, business and services centre during the 1980s and 1990s.

  • Partial dependence on the tourist sector, whose total contribution, derives from the value added, created, either directly through the purchases of goods and services by tourists in various sectors of economic activity, or indirectly through intersectoral linkages.

Today, Cyprus ranks tenth on the list of leading maritime nations and is considered as one of the leading third-party ship management centres in the world. Furthermore, due to its small domestic market and the open nature of its economy, access to international markets is of the utmost importance for Cyprus. As a result, trade has traditionally been one of the main sectors of the Cyprus economy, contributing significantly to the economic growth of the island.

The GPD for the period 2000 – 2008 and the growth rate (percentage change compared to the same quarter of the previous year) of the GDP for the period 2007 – 2009 are shown in tables 1 and 2 respectively.













GDP at current market prices (€mn)










% annual change at current prices










GDP at constant 2005 prices, chain linking method (€mn)



















% annual change at constant prices











1.       *  Provisional figures.

2.       The National Accounts data for the year 2007 has been revised on the basis of the results from the economic surveys for the reference year, while the revised data for the year 2008 is based on the most recently available indices. The revised annual data will be also incorporated into the forthcoming release of quarterly national accounts.

3.       The constant price series is the result of its re-calculation with 2005 as new reference-base year and according to the chain linking method as required by Eurostat

(Last Updated 09/11/2009)

















Table 2: Growth rates of GDP at constant prices



Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP (Seasonally and working day adjusted)

compared to the same
quarter of the
previous year                      (percentage change)

compared to the previous quarter (Percentage change)

compared to the same quarter of the previous year (Percentage change)
















































The GDP growth rate in real terms during the third quarter of 2009 is negative and estimated at -2,5% over the corresponding quarter of 2008. Based on seasonally and working day adjusted data, GDP growth rate in real terms is estimated at -2,0%. The contraction of the economy during the third quarter of 2009 is mainly attributed to the very negative growth rates observed in Construction and Hotels and Restaurants as well as the negative performance of Manufacturing, Trade and Transport activities. The Financial Intermediation activities as well as the broad Services sector continue to record positive growth rates but at a decelerating rate. It must be noted that the constant price series, re-calculated with 2005 as new reference-base year, have been incorporated in the quarterly data. Also, the changes observed in relation to the Flash Estimate, are mainly due to substitution of quarterly index for better depiction of short-term developments in the Construction sector.

(Last Updated 11/12/2009)





 [Statistical Service,

Ministry of Economics,]  


Executive power: Cyprus is an independent, sovereign Republic with a presidential system of government. Under the 1960 Constitution, executive power is vested in the President of the Republic, elected by universal suffrage to a five-year term of office. The executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic. The President exercises executive power through a Council of Ministers appointed by him/her. The Ministers may be chosen from outside the House of Representatives.

For the exercise of executive power, the President of the republic of Cyprus appoints the Ministers that constitute the Ministerial Council. In Cyprus, exist today eleven Ministries: Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Justice and Public Order, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Communications and Works and Ministry of Health. The Council of Ministers is responsible for the governance of the Republic of Cyprus, coordinates and supervises the public services, supervises and allocates the fortune of the Republic, and processes the budget and bills before they are presented to the House of Representatives.

Legislative power: Legislative power in the Republic of Cyprus is exercised by the House of Representatives. Its establishment, composition and functions are governed by articles 61-85 (Part IV) of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus and by the Standing Orders (Internal Rules of Procedure) of the House of Representatives, which was approved by the House in 1980. The House Rules were revised in 1985 and in 1995, so as to be consistent with today’s conditions and needs and based on experience acquired in the meantime.

Legislative functions of the House of Representatives: The legislative functions comprise the enactment, amendment or abolition of legal rules, namely bills and regulations, which are submitted to the House by the executive as well as private bills, which are tabled by Representatives.

Parliamentary control: Through the exercise of parliamentary control, the House monitors Government policies. This is done mainly through questions to the competent Ministries, concerning social, economic, political, cultural, environmental and other issues, as well as matters of general or special interest, introduced by Representatives for debate.

Parliamentary seats
Parliamentary seats: Out of a total of 80 seats in the House of Representatives, 56 are filled by Greek Cypriot successful candidates belonging to single parties and/or party coalitions or combinations, as well as by independent candidates, all of whom are elected by universal, direct, secret and compulsory vote for a five-year term of office. Initially, the seats were 50 in total, of which 35 (70%) went to Greek Cypriots and 15 (30%) to Turkish Cypriots. The same ratio was maintained after their increase to 80, through a House decision to that effect in 1985. 24 out of these belong to the Turkish Cypriots and remain vacant due to the Turkish Cypriot Members’ withdrawal in 1963, after intercommunal strife had broken out and the continuing to this day irregular situation, as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Judiciary power: The administration of justice is exercised by the island's separate and independent judiciary. The Judicial Power is vested in the Supreme Court and First Instance Courts established by law.

[Source: Publications and Information Office,]


The population of Cyprus is estimated at 885.6 thousand at the end of 2008, compared to 877.6 thousand the previous year, with an increase of 0.9%. Of the total population in 2008, 668,700 (75%) belong to the Greek Cypriot Community, 88,700 (10.0%) to the Turkish Cypriot Community and 128,000 (14.5%) are foreign residents. The population of the Government controlled area is estimated at 796.9 thousand at the end of 2008, compared to 789.3 thousand at the end of 2007, recording an increase of 1.0%. Population levels are given in figures 6 and 7.

The population of Cyprus accounts for 0.2% of the total population of the 27 European Union countries, having the third smallest population ranking behind Malta and Luxemburg. However, Cyprus has one of the highest rate of population growth among the 27 EU countries, which is explained by its particularly significant positive net migration balance. The rate of natural increase is also high, the third largest behind Ireland and France. The age composition of the population portrays a somewhat younger age-structure than the European average. Life expectancy at birth for females is close to the average European while for males is above the European average.

Labour market

The labour market in Cyprus exhibits conditions of near full employment, having shown a moderate upward trend during the last few years. The structure of employment by sector has gone through major changes in the last two to three decades, with a large increase of employment in the tertiary sector and a decrease in the primary and secondary sectors. In general, the labour market in Cyprus can be considered to be functioning effectively.  













Employment rate (%)










Unemployment rate (%)










The employment rate is calculated by dividing the number of persons aged 15 to 64 in employment by the total population of the same age group. Unemployment rate represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force (total number of people employed and unemployed aged 15 to 74).

Source: Statistical Service – Structural Indicators 2009


[Source: Publicity and Information Office]                                                                                            

Town planning and housing

The Department of Town Planning and Housing (Ministry of Interior) controls urban and spatial planning. A three-tier hierarchy of development plans is based on the concepts of the "Island Plan", which refers to the national territory and the regional distribution of resources and development opportunities, the "Local Plan", which refers to major urban areas or areas undergoing intensive development and rapid changes, and the "Area Scheme", which refers to areas of a smaller scale. Area schemes are more detailed and specifically project-oriented, gradually becoming indispensable tools for addressing sustainability issues and enabling the implementation of planning policy.

New developments are controlled by a set of Regulations under the Streets and Buildings Law. Furthermore, in areas within Local Plans published under the Town and Country Planning Law, specific set of provisions and guidelines govern a series of factors, including building height, volume and density, the subdivision of land, provision of public amenities, parking requirements and intervention in sensitive historic areas.

[Source: Publications and Information Office. Additional information: Town Planning and Housing Department,] 

What have been the major societal developments?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 24 Nov 2010

EU accession

Cyprus formally joined the European Union as a full member on 1 May 2004. EU accession and harmonization with the acquis communautaire led to significant changes in the business and general economic environment. Specifically, the adoption and implementation of the acquis dictated the complete liberalization of the economy and the removal of any remaining distortions that impeded the effective functioning of market mechanisms. Accession brought about the free movement of products, services, employment and capital. In 2008, Cyprus joined the Eurosystem, introducing the euro as its official currency.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office]

Economic development

After the military intervention of 1974 and subsequent occupation, the economy of the island collapsed completely. 70% of the gross output of the island which was in the northern part was lost. Despite this, Cyprus has managed to revive its economy and to achieve an economy with favourable international ratings. However, the development that took place in Cyprus during the last three decades, and especially the rapid economic development after 1974, has put pressures on the natural environment, particularly in the coastal regions.

The manufacturing and processing sector was one of the most important production sectors of the Cypriot economy on which a significant share of exports depended. With the EU accession, as a result of the liberalization of trade and the gradual abandonment of the protective regime on which it depended, the operation and development of the manufacturing industry face problems of competitiveness with a serious impact in the island’s economy.

The predominant and continuously expanding share of the services sectors at the cost of both the primary sectors of economic activity, agriculture, mining and quarrying and the secondary sectors of manufacturing and construction, reflects the comparative advantages which Cyprus enjoys in the services sectors. These derive mainly from its strategic geographic location, the favourable business climate, the well-educated labour force, the relative satisfactory state of its infrastructure in transport, energy and telecommunications, the satisfactory living conditions and the close economic and political relations with neighbouring countries.

The basic characteristic of the Cyprus economy, as far as the distribution of income by factors of production is concerned, is the high, compared to international levels, percentage share of capital earnings to GDP. It is noted that Cyprus is in a generally favourable position, as regards the distribution of income. Income distribution is calculated to be less unequal in Cyprus compared to the EU.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office.

Additional information: Ministry of Economics,]

Social changes

Over the last two decades, Cyprus has admitted a number of foreign workers in response to pressing needs in the labour market arising from the rapid economic development experienced recently. Today, one of the basic characteristics of the labour market is the employment of large numbers of foreign workers, especially in unskilled or low-skilled occupations. The total number of legally employed foreign workers reached around 57,000 in 2005, representing about 16.5% of the gainfully employed population of the island.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office]


What are the main drivers of environmental pressures?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 24 Nov 2010

Urbanisation and development

Roughly beginning in the 1960s, the suburbanization of the main towns of Cyprus was based, to a great extent, on migration from rural areas, while it was accelerated by the resettlement of refugees from occupied areas. Whereas new suburban growth still continues in urban areas and around tourist resorts, it is accompanied by a parallel trend in the growth of smaller towns and villages within easy commuting distance from the main urban centres. On the contrary, more remote villages in mountain regions continue to loose population and are preferred only as locations for country homes. Within this overall situation, two key problem areas have been identified:

  • Urban core areas in decline. The problems facing urban areas are complex and varied. The expansion of cities has been followed, as elsewhere, by the deterioration and disintegration of historic urban cores due to the exodus of the population and businesses towards areas that are more competitively priced and offer better accessibility and availability of infrastructure. This gradual abandonment has led to a fall in the quality of the urban environment, accompanied by a more general deterioration of economic and social conditions. To address these problems the Department of Town Planning and Housing plays a leading role in the promotion of socio-economic regeneration through the improvement of the built environment and cultural infrastructure.
  • Mountain areas at a disadvantage. The mountain villages continue to lose population because, despite their advantages in terms of climate and environment, they are still behind urban areas in terms of employment opportunities and quality of life. A series of measures and actions will be implemented to facilitate the improvement of the life of local communities, promote the development of rural areas and the diversification of their economy. 

Other territorial challenges identified include those associated with urban dispersal as opposed to agricultural restructuring and nature protection, especially in the countryside, where new development continually encroaches on prime agricultural land and areas rich in natural resources. Pressures on land development for holiday homes further complicate this situation where there is already a high demand for the acquisition of holiday homes by overseas owners. With EU accession and the opening up of the real estate market, this trend has been accelerated.

[Source: Publications and Information Office.

Additional information: Town Planning and Housing Department,]

Land use

The urban development rate relies directly on economic development, housing needs and the expansion of the road network. Over the last decades the urban areas have been rapidly expanding often at the expense of other land uses, while the increase in demand continues. Today, agricultural land constitutes 24% of the total government controlled area of the island, forests 23.7%, other forest covered areas 30.3%, barren and uncultivated land 9.6% and residential areas the remaining 12.4%.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office]


Agriculture continues to be a vital sector of the economy despite its gradual decrease as a result of the development of other sectors, such as tourism and services, and the difficulties encountered in an extremely competitive environment. The importance of agriculture nowadays is not defined solely by financial indicators, but by the fact that it has a multi-functional role to play. In addition to the production of food, it contributes significantly to preserving the environment and providing the means for improving and protecting life in the countryside.

During the period 1960-1974, the agricultural sector expanded rapidly, but in 1974 it was severely affected by the Turkish invasion and occupation. Despite the forced concentration of population in the less productive part of the island, it was possible through concerted efforts and heave investment in land improvement and irrigation to reactivate the agricultural sector and to reach the pre-1974 production levels.

The scattered and small agricultural units, combined with the mountainous terrain, the lack of alternative economic activity in rural areas, the often limited productivity of the land, and the aging of the rural population are factors that limit the productiveness and competitiveness of the agricultural sector. These, in combination with the dry climate, the abandonment of mountain and deprived rural areas, and the continuously increasing intensification of agricultural practices, together with urbanization and urban development have led to the degradation of the rural environment.

Additionally, the problems of soil erosion and desertification have been intensified over the past few years. The prevailing climatic conditions and the increasing erosion of the soil contribute significantly to the degradation of the soil. Amongst the main causes are intensive cultivation in some parts of the island, land overexploitation, grazing practices, deforestation, inappropriate irrigation practices, the overexploitation of water resources, and forest fires. 

Cyprus accession in the European Union has created a new environment with new elements for agriculture within a strongly competitive environment. The Department of Agriculture aims at dealing successfully with the new situation through the modernization of the agricultural sector with special emphasis on the improvement of productivity and competitiveness, the application of new methods in integrated production, the production of safe products for the consumers, the application of measures for protecting and improving the environment and generally by sustainable development.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office, More information: Department of Agriculture,]

Water resources

Throughout its long history Cyprus has always been confronted with the problem of water shortage. Cyprus has no rivers with perennial flow, while rainfall is highly variable and droughts occur frequently. Up until 1970 groundwater was the main source of water both for drinking and irrigation purposes. As a result, almost all aquifers were seriously depleted because of over-pumping and seawater intrusion was observed in most of the coastal aquifers.

The water problem and its exacerbation over the years were recognized early enough by the relevant state authorities who designed a long-term programme to combat the problem effectively. After independence, attention was turned to the systematic study and construction of water development works, both for storage and replenishing purposes.

Despite the remarkable work performed in the sector of water development, due to the increasing demand of water, the declining rainfall, the climatic changes and the greenhouse phenomenon, the available quantities of water for water supply and irrigation are not adequate. In order to face the situation, desalination units were constructed to eliminate dependency of the major residential and tourist centres on rainfall. The government water policy is not limited to desalination but also focuses on the exploitation of other non-conventional sources of water, such as recycled water for irrigation of agricultural cultivation and for the replenishment of the underground aquifers.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office, More information: Water Development Department,]


Cyprus depends almost exclusively on the import of mainly petroleum products. The highest demand comes from the transport sector which absorbs approximately 51% of the final petroleum demand. During the period 1995-2005 the final energy demand has been increasing by an average of 2% annually, while electricity consumption increased by 70%. The contribution of renewable energy sources is limited to 4.6% (2006) of the total energy consumption and comes mainly from solar energy.

[Source: Publicity and Information Office]


Tourism is one of the vital sectors of the island’s economy with a revenue of 1.7 billion euro, a contribution of over 12% to the GDP and significant multiplier effects for the economy. The number of tourist arrivals exceeded 2.4 million in 2006, while the ratio of tourists to the population of the island is above 3:1. Tourism constituted the main development tool for recovery following the serious setback brought about by the invasion in 1974. Nevertheless, the large dependence on tourism and the rapid development patterns that followed have led, beyond the significant economic development, to several pressures on the natural and human environment, and as a result the sustainability of the destination.

Regarding tourism, the Strategic Plan for Tourism 2010 is aimed at introducing sustainability on the tourist development of Cyprus, which will revolve around two central pillars, culture and environment. The overall objective is to increase total revenue from tourism by offering quality and value for money to the visitor, coupled with a very modest increase in arrivals.


What are the foreseen developments?

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 24 Nov 2010

Climate change: According to the Expected Development Scenario for Cyprus regarding climate change, a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions is expected for the period 2000 – 2020. To this end, a number of measures are gradually being implemented aimed at increasing the percentage of renewable energy sources, reducing energy consumption in the housing and tertiary sector, industry and transport, managing waste, and reducing emissions.

Sustainable development: A number of measures are also under implementation through the National Sustainable Development Strategy, aimed at the protection of the atmospheric environment, biodiversity, water and marine resources, coastal and rural areas, the promotion of green public procurement, environmental management systems and green products, the reduction in energy and water consumption, as well as the reduction in waste production, all of which are expected to reduce the adverse impacts of development on the environment and improve the current consumption and production patterns. Some of the measures relating to the environment include:

  • Climate change and clean energy: The general objective is to limit climate change, as well as its costs and effects to society and the environment. Specific targets include:
    • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
    • Production of energy from waste
    • Promotion of the use of public transport
    • Establishment of renewable energy sources

Sustainable transport: The basic objective is the implementation of an integrated sustainable strategy to satisfy the increasing transport demands, while at the same time ensuring economic development and the protection of the environment, public health and social cohesion. This includes the restructure and expansion of urban, suburban and country transport systems and substantial reductions in the use of the private vehicle. 

  • Sustainable consumption and production: The foremost objective is the promotion of sustainable methods of consumption and production by decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. The basic measures which have been developed are:
    • Green Public Procurement
    • Ecolabel
    • EMAS
    • Water management
  • Conservation and management of natural resources: The objective to improve the management and avoid the overexploitation of natural resources, recognising the value of ecosystem services. The subject areas addressed include the atmosphere, forests, water resources, marine and coastal areas, the protection of biodiversity, agriculture and mineral resources.
  • Public health: The objective is to promote good public health and improve protection against threats. The actions examined include the introduction of health issues in all policies, prevention and the improvement of health services.

Social inclusion, demography and migration: The objective is to create a socially inclusive society by taking into account solidarity between and within generations and to secure and increase the quality of life. The measures suggested include:

    • Reduction of the risk of poverty
    • Introduction of vulnerable groups in the labour market,
    • Improved accessibility for people with special needs
    • Prevention of the social exclusion of children
  • Global challenges: the objective is to actively promote sustainable development worldwide and ensure that the European Union’s internal and external policies are consistent with global sustainable development and its international commitments.
  • Urban development and sustainable tourism: the main objective is to achieve sustainable economic development, in conjunction with social cohesion, sustainability and quality, through specific actions that ensure a balanced urban and rural development.
  • Education and training: The objective is to develop educational procedures which favour an overall systematic approach to environmental issues. Actions include the training of educators and the establishment of Environmental Education Centres.
  • Research, technological development and innovation: The objective is to improve the competitiveness of the economy within the framework of sustainable development. Actions include:
    • New intergovernmental agreements
    • Improvement of the existing research infrastructures and the creation of new ones
    • Establishment of a National Research Council

Strategic Development Plan for the Economy: The Strategic Development Plan 2007-2013 for the economy is in complete synergy with the Lisbon and Sustainable Development Strategies. The main strategic objective is to secure sustainable economic development and social cohesion, while enhancing competitiveness. Measures relating to the environment include the full compliance with the Kyoto agreement and the relevant EU commitments, an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy, the protection of biodiversity and nature, the appropriate management of solid and liquid waste, the reorganization of the institutional framework for environmental management, consumer protection, sustainable urban transport, and the improvement of rural regions and downgraded urban areas.

National Lisbon Strategy: Policies and measures are also implemented through the National Lisbon Strategy, one of the Key elements of which is environmental sustainability. The main policy priorities pursued in the area of the environment are the following:

  • The creation / expansion of the environmental infrastructure for a sustainable management of resources and waste;
  • The protection, preservation and management of coastal areas;
  • The promotion of energy saving and renewable energy sources;
  • The reduction of greenhouse gases emissions;
  • The internalization of external environmental costs.



The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100