The European Parliament today adopted a report on green jobs drafted by Greens/EFA MEP and Green employment spokesperson Jean Lambert. This report looks at how to tap into the job creation potential of the green economy and follows on from last year's European Commission proposals on green employment as part of the EU's Europe 2020 objectives. Commenting after the vote, Jean Lambert said:
"This report sends a strong signal to the European Commission on the need for ambitious proposals on the shift to a green and resource efficient economy. While the Commission's original package recognised the potential for significant green employment creation, it lacked concrete proposals. Today's report fills in the blanks, proposing clear steps towards the sustainable transformation of our economy and the creation of quality, long-term jobs.
“However, to truly deliver this change we need a clear direction of travel for investment and innovation. This means a strong and stable regulatory framework, with ambitious binding 2030 EU targets on energy saving, resource efficiency and renewable energy. The report highlights that implementing existing EU energy efficiency and savings measures could create up to 2mn new jobs with the potential for another 3mn in the renewables sector. A clear policy framework could also for example allow stakeholders some degree of predictability in training or investment decisions and so encourage investment in renewables and resource efficiency. This could then boost jobs in rural and former industrial areas. While globalisation can pose a threat to job security in the industrial sector, many green jobs are likely to be non-re-locatable and in areas which cannot be offshored.
A further source of green employment will be the circular economy and the report calls on the European Commission to honour its commitment to make a new proposal on EU waste legislation by the end of 2015. Green jobs could also be created by shifting the tax burden from employment to environmental costs whilst ensuring that the effect is progressive. Likewise, ending the counterproductive subsidies which support polluting or carbon intensive sectors should also be a priority.
With the green transition’s success also dependent on how well existing businesses adapt to new circumstances, another key demand is for effective support and retraining measures to increase workforce engagement. EU funds could also play a part here. The report also puts forward the idea of ‘green representatives’ in trades unions who could work together with employers to green the workplace and indirectly the economy in general. The European Commission and Council must now come forward with some concrete proposals aimed at moving towards the creation of green, sustainable jobs as part of a sustainable future.”