Benjamin-Nicolau 's

Environm Ciencia, Tecnologia y Economia

Cohesion Policy backs “green economy”

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en marzo 9, 2009

Cohesion Policy backs “green economy” for growth and long-term jobs in Europe Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, announced today that €105 billion will be invested in the “green economy” through the EU Cohesion Policy. The funding, which represents more than 30% of the regional policy budget for 2007-2013, offers a solid platform for job creation and a significant boost for regions and cities in their quest to maintain Europe’s global leadership in the field of green technologies. Commissioner Hübner said: “Support for the green economy and the environment goes hand-in-hand with the Cohesion Policy’s objective to deliver sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness. In a difficult financial climate, this investment will be instrumental in creating long-term employment and reviving local economies, as well as underpinning the EU’s commitment to the fight against climate change.” Ambitious spending on environmental initiatives The €105 billion dedicated to green projects and jobs is almost three times greater than the sum allocated in the 2000-2006 budgetary period. A large part of the envelope (€54 billion) is designed to help Member States to comply with EU environmental legislation. Improvement of water and waste management alone accounts for €28 billion of the total. Romania and Bulgaria are investing the highest proportion of Cohesion Policy funds on environment-related projects, at 45% and 42% of their allocation respectively. These investments include hundreds of environmental major projects, which also contribute to protecting and creating jobs in the EU. Fight against climate change The EU has embraced ambitious objectives in the fight against climate change – a 20% reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions with a 20% share of renewable energies in EU energy consumption by 2020. With €48 billion targeted at measures aimed at achieving EU climate objectives and creating a low carbon economy, the Cohesion Policy is making a considerable contribution to these goals. This includes €23 billion for railways, €6 billion for clean urban transport, €4.8 billion for renewable energies and €4.2 billion for energy efficiency. The Cohesion Policy is also helping to create new market openings for local economies by enabling them to seize the opportunities created by the need to tackle climate change as new potential sources of growth. Nearly half of the Member States (Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the UK) have integrated indicators for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into their Cohesion Policy programmes. France, for example, has developed a unique carbon evaluation tool to monitor CO2 emissions produced by all projects funded with EU support. Promoting eco-innovation Promoting eco-innovation and new “green-collar” jobs, especially in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), ranks high in the priorities for support for the regions. The Cohesion Policy is contributing €3 billion to the promotion of environmentally-friendly products and production processes in SMEs. One of the clear aims of funding for research and innovation is to boost overall investment in green technologies. The Lahti Cleantech cluster in Finland is a good example of this type of support. The Community’s investment in (€1.5 million) in this project encouraged innovation and development of environmental technologies by bringing together small and large enterprises, educational organisations and regional authorities. The results speak for themselves: 170 new jobs have been created, 20 new clean-tech companies have set up in the Lahti region and the project has attracted more than €30 million in total investment. “Green-proofed” programmes The 455 operational programmes at the heart of the Cohesion Policy are “green-proofed”: prior to approval by the European Commission, Member States have to submit a strategic environmental assessment to ensure their programmes respect EU environmental rules. An environmental impact assessment must also be carried out for certain Community-financed schemes – e.g. major transport projects.

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