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Policy instruments

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Policies have a key role in determining the state of our environment. The EU has 35 years' experience of environmental policy-making, during which time well over 200 legal acts have been put in place and strategic paths have been defined. Initially, policy focused on regulating technical standards. Gradually, the spectrum of policy instruments has broadened, recognising that there is no single universal policy tool that can provide solutions to all problems. More

Key facts and messages
Driven by structural change, fast-growing workforces and trade liberalisation, developing regions are rapidly increasing their share of global economic output, trade and investment. more
For Europe, this rebalancing presents competitive threats but also economic opportunities in meeting the demand of a fast growing global middle class. The emergence of a larger and more diverse mixture of major economic powers may, however,... more
In the context of rapid globalisation, governments are facing a mismatch between the increasingly long-term, global, systemic challenges facing society and their more national and short-term focus and powers. more
The need for more coordinated governance at the global scale has been reflected in the proliferation of international environmental agreements, particularly during the 1990s. More recently, businesses and civil society have also taken an increasing... more
Per capita consumption of material resources increased between 2000 and 2012 in 13 countries and decreased in 19. Significant increases were primarily due to large-scale infrastructure investments, with the largest declines related to the economic... more
Four countries have consistently been the most resource-efficient economies, with six remaining at the bottom of resource-productivity rankings, indicating opportunities for further improvements and actions. more


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