Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Regions want growth model made compatible with environmental protection

The Committee of the Regions (COR) is calling for a complete overhaul of the growth model to make it compatible with environmental protection, as well as capable of generating employment.

Although highlighting the challenge posed by unemployment to European economies and the ...
The Committee of the Regions (COR) is calling for a complete overhaul of the growth model to make it compatible with environmental protection, as well as capable of generating employment.

Although highlighting the challenge posed by unemployment to European economies and the resulting superfluity of available resources, the COR said it was pleased with the European Commission's communication on "Environment and employment: building a sustainable Europe" and the lines of action it sets out, according to its recently published opinion on the topic (1999/C51/07).

The COR's call a complete overhaul of the growth model is in line with the Commission's White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, which states that a new development model should "de-couple future economic prosperity from environmental pollution."

The COR recommends that Member States should follow the lines of action in the Commission communication to guarantee that long-term economic recovery is accompanied by a high level of employment and a stable macro-economic environment.

Since the development of new environmentally-friendly processes and products will require new investments in clean technologies, the COR suggests this could be used to create new jobs, tackling both employment and environment issues at the same time.

Activities producing environmental goods and services will be good for employment, according to the COR, as will be activities in the area of clean technologies, renewable energy sources, waste recycling, protection of nature and landscapes, and renewal of delapidated urban areas. These sectors, the COR says, generate direct employment and also have a knock-on effect on other sectors of the economy, as environmental companies produce intermediary goods and services and employees in these sectors spend more on consumer goods.

The COR stresses that the transition towards a sustainable economy should be implemented gradually to minimize adverse effects. It also suggests a significant degree of coordination at an international level, and targeting of environmental spending at regional and sectoral level.

The COR is particularly pleased with Commission and European Parliament public statements calling for a need to increase the environmental component of Community spending.

The COR also makes specific comments on each of the five key actions set out by the Commission communication. It stresses that, in addition to the measures proposed by the Commission, attention should be given to the tourism sector, the employment potential of small and medium-sized enterprises, and consumer behaviour.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities
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