Green measures to tackle the economic crisis
Solar power plant in Portugal
© European Communities
The efforts to overcome the economic slowdown in Europe provide an opportunity to carry out economic reforms and at the same time move towards more sustainable production methods and consumption patterns.
The environment ministers meeting in Brussels on 2 March welcomed the "green" measures proposed under the European Economic Recovery Plan. These are aimed at modernising Europe's infrastructure, with the emphasis on environmentally friendly modes of transport, water and waste management (including recycling) and renewable energies. Improving energy efficiency in buildings and in manufacturing and facilitating the uptake of "green" products and services are also priority areas in the Recovery Plan context.
Achieving more sustainable consumption and production is one of the key challenges for the EU. The ministers urged member states and the Commission to encourage sustainable behaviour, for instance through eco-design, extended environmental labelling and pricing that reflects the environmental cost of a product.
Going green pays off. Environmental technologies not only help to reduce pressure on the environment but are also a means of improving energy and resource efficiency and have become one of the fastest growing markets. Switching to a safe and sustainable low-carbon economy provides growing economic and employment opportunities in the EU, which has to address growing energy and resource constraints and the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.
Council conclusions (pdf)
Council webcast of press conference