Dods EU Alert: Milan meeting: the road to green jobs goes through SMEs, La Via says

New ENVI chair calls for legal certainty in delivering green jobs and green growth

By Dods EU monitoring

18 Jul 2014

More legal certainty is needed while developing renewables, energy and material efficiency, said new Environment committee chair Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) during the informal meeting of Environment ministers in Milan, on Thursday. In order to deliver green growth and jobs, EU policy making must better involve the national and local level, provide incentives for small businesses and allow to trigger the European Social Fund for a better skilled workforce, he added.

“The transition towards a sustainable growth is a necessity if we want to provide an effective response to the global emergencies of climate change and biodiversity loss, but also for enhancing our competitiveness” said Giovanni La Via, during the roundtable.

“European businesses, in the manufacturing sectors, spend on average half of their production costs on raw materials, energy and water” he explained.

“A key element in this process should be a legislation providing legal certainty and a level playing field in the area of the development and use of renewable energies, and for increasing energy and raw materials efficiency. To reach this goal, it will be needed to draw up new legislation and strengthen the existing one”.

The Green growth will not be achieved without the involvement of all actors

Mr La Via presented the European Parliament’s position, as stated in a resolution on Eco-innovation in December last year.

- Fostering green growth requires improving the coordination at national and local level  to support regional partnerships for growth, innovation, jobs and equal opportunities between women and men, as well as cross-border initiatives;

- To provide incentives for businesses, in particular SMEs, to promote greater investment in private sector research and development (R&D) activities; in this context the Eco-Innovation Action Plan is welcomed;

- To make use as soon as possible of the European Social Fund for programmes aimed at up skilling, training and retraining employees towards high-quality green jobs.

A more transparent monitoring against environmentally harmful subsidies

“For an effective usage of these financial instruments it is not only required to develop at national and regional level a good planning capacity but also a high level of transparency in the monitoring phase in order to avoid the partial or complete neutralisation of their positive impact due to environmentally harmful subsides” Mr La Via added.

“From the demand side, eco-innovation should be placed at the centre of the Union industrial policy. This goal could be achieved by targeted funds and to enhance cross border co-operation in order to ensure the diffusion of technology and best practices across the EU (…) It is also important to facilitate the development of labelling standards and clear definitions for the purpose of identifying and communicating the environmental credentials of products and services” he said.

“I believe that a complete achievement of green growth will be only possible when the integration among this three dimensions (social, economic and environmental) will reach such level of interdependency to avoid trade-offs in defining policy priorities” he concluded.

Milan meeting

Organised by the Italian Presidency of the Council, the informal meeting on circular economy and green growth gathered Council’s Employment and Environment Ministers on Wednesday and Thursday in Milan. The European Commission proposed, earlier this month, a package on the transition towards a circular economy, to be examined by Environment committee MEPs this autumn.

Links

Profile: Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT)

Informal meeting of the Employment Ministers in Milan

Moving towards a circular economy – European Commission

Committee of Environment, public health and food safety

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