This was the conclusion, when Europe’s environment ministers met this week in Horsens. They discussed an ambitious outline for the 7th Environment Action Programme made by the Danish EU Presidency.
“I am overwhelmed by the great support to the green economy from the ministers. It is obvious that the European countries agree that the green transition is the only way out of the crisis. The green economy implies that the environment policy is driven into the core of the economic policy. This is a very important signal to Europe and the rest of the world. We will lead the way”, says the President of the Environment Council Ida Auken.
The green economy means that Europe will use its resources more efficiently so that the recycling of waste approaches 100 percent. The green economy changes the products we produce so they become sustainable, environmentally friendly and fewer resources are used in the production. For instance this applies to rare earths and metals which we use a lot in electronical devices and which makes us dependent of the few countries, that have these resources in their underground. The green economy is innovative and will strengthen the European competitiveness on the global market.
The discussions were also about a common wish to strengthen the implementation of legislation we have in place.
For instance the implementation of the waste legislation will reduce the European countries’ expenditures by more than 70 billion Euros and it will create 400.000 jobs.
Ministers also discussed the upcoming United Nations Conference in Rio 20-22 June 2012 where more than 100 heads of state and government are expected to attend the decisive, final negotiations on a global push towards green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Ministers agreed that the inclusive green economy is a vehicle for achieving long term sustainable development to ensure global job creation and for eradicating poverty while safeguarding the natural resource base that our economies depend on.
Ministers also agreed that the EU and its Member States should continue to come forward with concrete and ambitious proposals in the negotiation process.
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, was delighted to see strong support for the approach suggested by the Commission which will provide a clear negotiation basis in the run up to the Rio Conference.
"An inclusive green economy will be essential for growth and poverty eradication, offering opportunities for all countries around the world and in all stages of development. Responding to the challenges of resource constraints and pressures requires us all to focus on clear goals in five "pillars of life": water, sustainable energy, oceans, land and ecosystems, and resource efficiency in particular waste", says Janez Potočnik.
The ministers agreed that the roadmap for an inclusive green economy should be closely linked to the emerging discussions on a set of global goals for sustainable development.
President of the Environment Council of the EU, Ida Auken, states:
"Today’s discussions demonstrated that the EU and its Member States are prepared to take on global responsibility. If the EU is not united we can not act as pioneers in the transition of the global economy to an inclusive and green economy. We must show the world that sustainable development and an inclusive green economy goes hand in hand.”