Sustainable Prosperity for Europe

Blue Gold Task Force


Risky resources – Time to frame an EU approach to meeting the resource challenge

23 September 2013
Andrea Frontini (Policy Analyst) and Annika Hedberg (Senior Policy Analyst)



The world is facing a major resource challenge which has serious economic, political and security implications for Europe, which is highly dependent on resource imports.

In this Discussion Paper, Annika Ahtonen and Andrea Frontini analyse the global resource challenge, with a special focus on water, and explore ways to enhance Europe’s response capacity both internally and at international level. They argue that the EU should promote a comprehensive and strategic policy approach, using internal norm setting, technological excellence and diplomatic networking to lead the way in global resource management. Internally the EU needs to promote eco-efficiency, which means doing more – or the same – with less. Outside the EU, more focus must be put on promoting cooperation and networking across the world.

This Discussion Paper is based on a shorter article published in the 2013 edition of the 'Think Global – Act European (TGAE). Thinking strategically about the EU's external action' directed by Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute and involving 16 European think tanks: Carnegie Europe, CCEIA, CER, CEPS, demosEUROPA, ECFR, EGMONT, EPC, Real Instituto Elcano, Eliamep, Europeum, FRIDE, IAI, Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, SIEPS and SWP.

While aiming to paint a picture of the European resource challenge in general, this revised Discussion Paper pays special attention to the water challenge within and outside the EU. The EPC will continue to explore the challenges and opportunities related to the use and management of water during its Blue Gold Task Force meetings in 2013-2014.

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