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Ten issues to watch in 2021

Análise aprofundada 06-01-2021

This is the fifth edition of an annual EPRS publication aimed at identifying and framing some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are: the Covid-19 race for a vaccine; the recovery plan; access to food; inequality; challenges for culture and the performing arts; a digital boost for the circular economy; critical raw materials; border controls; Turkey and the eastern Mediterranean ...

The pandemic has highlighted the risk involved, including for the EU, in relying heavily on external suppliers. The EU's 30 critical raw materials (CRMs) combine two characteristics: they are strategically important for its industry and economy, and there are high risks associated with securing their supply. The notion of strategic autonomy, which has been gaining track recently, calls for a more autonomous and independent EU policy, also in the area of CRMs. Importantly, the core of the EU's response ...

Global material use has tripled during the past four decades, in particular as a result of increasing living standards. The use of materials, which need to be extracted from our environment, can pose environmental challenges. It can also be threatened by resource scarcity and price volatility. This is particularly true for Europe, which is strongly dependent on imported materials. There are a number of ways to consider material use in the European Union (EU). The breakdown of material use by types ...

This STOA study explores waste management in the EU. Around one third of EU municipal waste was sent to landfill in 2012. To turn waste into a resource, waste management objectives must be aligned with the goals of a circular economy transition. This report highlights progress and challenges across Member States and in municipalities for (1) reducing waste, and (2) generating high-quality waste streams for re-use and recovery. It focuses on the current policy landscape, trends, and technologies for ...

With the publication of the "Global Trendometer" the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. In this latest edition, three essays and seven two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of some developments that may shape Europe’s future.

General principles of EU industrial policy

Fichas temáticas sobre a UE 01-09-2017

The EU’s industrial policy aims to make European industry more competitive so that it can maintain its role as a driver of sustainable growth and employment in Europe. Various strategies have been adopted in order to ensure better framework conditions for EU industry, the most recent being described in the communication ‘For a European Industrial Renaissance’, of January 2014.

This report summarises four presentations by experts and discussions which took place at the workshop ‘Supporting the market for Secondary raw Materials’ held on 31st January 2017 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The aim was to provide background information to the ENVI and ITRE Committees’ Members and contribute to their understanding of the role and opportunities for secondary raw materials as part of the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan, including the proposed waste legislation ...

Export taxes and restrictions take various forms and their effects may not be limited to the countries that apply them. Developing countries use such export taxes and restrictions in pursuit of development policy objectives. The effects on third countries depend on the market power of the country applying them and the nature of the restriction or tax. Large developing and emerging economies are the main users of these types of instruments, which are often used to counter the distortions due to tariff ...

Unlike the traditional linear economic model based on a 'take-make-consume-throw away' pattern, a circular economy is based on sharing, leasing, reuse, repair, refurbishment and recycling, in an (almost) closed loop, where products and the materials they contain are highly valued. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. Moving towards a more circular economy could deliver opportunities including reduced pressures on the environment; enhanced security of supply of raw materials; increased ...

New circular economy package

Em síntese 30-11-2015

A shift towards a circular economy could deliver environmental and economic benefits, but it would also face a number of barriers and challenges. The European Commission is expected to present new legislative proposals and an action plan on the circular economy at the December I plenary session.