Eco-industry has played a large role in the sustenance of the EU’s economy. The European Environment State and Outlook Report (SOER), which analyzed Europe’s green industries between 2000 and 2010, found that Europe’s green industries grew by 50%, despite the prevalence of economic busts during the time. In 2014, 4.2 million people in the EU were employed in the eco-industry compared to the 2.4 million who were employed in the car manufacturing industry and the 1.6 million who were employed in the textile industry. In 2016, Europe held one-third of the market for products that protect the environment and promote green jobs. All of these statistics demonstrate the importance of green jobs in the EU and their ability to bolster the economies of countries where they are prevalent. Environmental policies in the EU that have supported the development and use of new environmental technologies, including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Environmental Technologies Action Plan, have proven to be beneficial in their ability to increase the number of jobs and people who are able to work.
Additionally, in 2016, the European Commission formed two key programs, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and Horizon 2020, to promote economic growth, jobs creation and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure development. These programs have allowed for the creation of more green jobs, such as those that were developed as part of European policy related to the development of water infrastructure facilities used in transportation of inland waterways. Horizon 2020 is especially notable in relation to the creation of green jobs because of its implementation of the Innovation Union, which is a Europe 2020 flagship initiative that includes the usage of green transport and is aimed at securing Europe global competitiveness.
Moreover, additional positive steps being taken by the European Commission towards the creation of green jobs can be seen through the EU’s recent promise to redouble efforts to meet its green goals after the economic harm caused by COVID-19 and the Commission’s focus on promoting the bioeconomy. The bioeconomy consists of the parts of the economy in which renewable biological resources from land and sea are converted into other vital products and bio-energy. The bioeconomy acts as a way to preserve biodiversity while simultaneously generating new business and revenue for farmers, foresters, fishermen and other citizens.
The European Commission has the goal of creating 1 million new green jobs within the bioeconomy by 2030. As of 2019, there were 18 million people employed in the EU bioeconomy with almost 80% of these individuals coming from the fields of agriculture and food and drink manufacturing. Given the plethora of opportunities in these sectors for the continuation of the creation of new green jobs, coupled with the EU’s promise to allocate 10 billion euros towards a Horizon Europe budget that covers food and natural resources, which include the bioeconomy, it appears that the EU will continue to play a strong role in the promotion of green job growth.
Activity Rating: *** Right Direction
It is clear that the EU remains committed to meeting its green goals and recognizes the role that green jobs play in bolstering the economy. Yet, the continued development and implementation of programs with budgets that specifically focus on promoting green job growth, instead of programs that focus on other factors that subsequently result in green job growth, would be highly beneficial in ensuring the prioritization of green jobs.
Dear Mr. Virginijus Sinkevičius,
Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries,
Climate Scorecard would like to express its concern regarding the EU’s effort in the creation and promotion of green jobs amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We would like to encourage the EU to analyze areas where green jobs can continue to be developed and to allocate funding towards these areas.
With our respectful and best regards,
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
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Karasavvoglou, Anastasios G., et al. “International Conference on European Integration 2016.” Springer, Economy, Finance and Business in Southeastern and Central Europe: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Economies of the Balkan and Eastern European Countries in the Changing World (EBEEC) in Split, Croatia, 2016, 2018, pp. 822-824.
Lamborelle, Aymone, and Gerardo Fortuna. “Bioeconomy, a Smarter Way of Using Agricultural Resources.” www.euractiv.com, EURACTIV.com, 26 Apr. 2019, www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/infographic/bioeconomy-a-smarter-way-of-using-agricultural-resources/.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard EU Country Manager Brittany Demogenes
Image courtesy of: ec.europa.eu