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Brussels, 2 July 2014
Commissioner Andor's statement on Green Employment Initiative
Let me stress that this initiative is not only important because of its long-term environmental impact but also because of its potential for assisting the economic recovery of the European Union.
The shift towards a green economy is as a tremendous opportunity for generating new high quality environmentally-friendly jobs, while securing the sustainable well-being of future generations and contributing to recovery from the economic crisis.
This process brings challenges as well as opportunities, as this economic transformation leads to new jobs being created, with others being replaced and many redefined. There is significant potential for creating new jobs in numerous sectors such as energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency, waste and water management, among others. For example, as Janez also mentioned, this implementing legislation on waste prevention and management could create more than 400,000 new jobs and the review of the legislation adopted today could create an additional 180,000 jobs, which all together brings us close to 600,000 newly created jobs, in the foreseeable future.
We must therefore put in place the right policies and enabling instruments to reap the full benefits of this economic transformation for workers as well as employers.
For companies, this shift represents an opportunity to adopt innovative solutions, develop new business models, offer more sustainable products or services and increase their efficiency and competitiveness vis-à-vis their competitors.
For their part, workers will have to be supported in getting the right skills demanded by green business whether it is through education and training programs or the re-skilling as a result of the transformation of their posts.
To embrace this change and to help Europe maximise the job creation potential of the green economy, the Commission has today presented a Green Employment Initiative.
With this proposal, our goal is to put employment at the heart of the 'green agenda' and better coordinate employment and green growth policies to ensure that labour market policies and tools support this structural transformation of the economy.
The Green Employment Initiative plans to combine the right policies on skills, tools to anticipate and manage change in the best possible way, specific measures to support job creation and labour market transitions and also to strengthen social dialogue with representatives of employee and employer organisations.
The Commission will work with stakeholders to identify and bridge the skills gaps and support peer reviews and adequate market policies in the framework of the European Semester. Working with the European Public Employment Services Network will also be key to meet specific labour market needs within the green economy.
In order to boost job creation, the Commission will, among other things, continue to follow up on the environmental tax reform in the Member States and facilitate access to finance for social enterprises. The Commission will also encourage European social partners to develop further cooperation in this area.
And, as already proposed in the Health and Safety Strategic Framework, the Commission will also support workers involvement in matters related to potential emerging risks linked to the development of green technologies.
EU funding is available to help Member States with the employment opportunities and challenges of the transition to a greener economy. In particular, the European Social Fund may support actions to update and upgrade workers' skills.
The Commission looks forward to working with Member States and other partners to make this Initiative a reality and will monitor green employment in the framework of the European Semester.
A first discussion with the Member States will take place at the Jumbo meeting of Employment and Environment Ministers in Milan on 17 July.