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Economic assessment of priorities for a European environmental policy plan

The European Commission, DG XI, has published an invitation to tender for a study on the priorities for the Community programme of policy and action in relation to the environment and sustainable development (the fifth action programme).

The Commission has reviewed this programme and has concluded that one important task is to set key priorities. The aim of the study therefore is to provide, from a welfare-economic perspective, information to set priorities for the fifth action programme by:

- Establishing indicators for prioritizing different policy targets and policy options;
- Establishing criteria to determine which policy options are best effected at EU level.

Criteria for priority setting will have to include:
effects on human health and well-being; monetary value of benefits; public concern; distributional considerations; contribution to sustainable development; and the extent to which damage is reversible.

The study should make use of integrated assessment models dealing with problems such as the greenhouse effect, acidification and tropospheric ozone, soil and water pollution, local air quality, and land use. They will have to be combined with economic/energy models, economic benefit models and databases on the costs and effects of policy measures. Associated scientific uncertainties have to be addressed. This requires a multidisciplinary, geographically balanced research team, with a strong economic accent, and frequent interaction with policy representatives at the EC. All EU countries should be analysed.

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