Greener EU budget good for jobs, say NGOs
10 February 2012, ENDS Europe
More than half a million jobs could be created in Europe if 14% of the next EU budget for 2014-20 is invested in green sectors such as renewable energy and nature protection, a group of environmental groups has said.
Presenting a consultancy report in the European Parliament on Wednesday, the NGOs stressed that investing in such sectors was much more cost-effective in terms of job creation than the current budget setup.
Funds currently allocated to cohesion and agriculture policies, which make up 78% of the existing budget, have led to the creation of about 1.2 million jobs. Half of this could be created with just a fraction of these funds, they argue.
Of all four green sectors analysed in the report, green energy has the biggest potential, with 52,700 jobs for a €1bn investment. Nature protection comes second with 29,000 jobs, followed by energy efficient buildings (25,900) and sustainable transport (21,500).
But the report notes it is difficult to provide reliable estimates because of “fundamental information gaps”. “The EU has never estimated how many jobs are created, or are intended to be created, by its €1trn budget,” say the NGOs. This is despite José Manuel Barroso calling for three million new green jobs by 2020.
In 2010, Friends of the Earth Europe estimated that at least half a million jobs would be created in Europe if member states recycled 70% of their waste.
Socialist MEP Ivailo Kalfin, co-rapporteur on the next EU budget in the parliament, said his group will fight to keep earmarking for environmental expenditure in the European Commission proposals. “Green jobs are not a luxury,” he said.
Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter emphasised the importance of investment in people since “most of the change for employees will be in their existing workplace”. A representative from trade union confederation ETUC agreed: “All jobs must go green.” But an appropriate transition is needed, he told meeting participants.
Institution: EU Funds