The right path to the future leads to an energy-efficient and circular economy, Greece’s Environment, Energy & Climate Change Minister, Mr. Yannis Maniatis, told an informal meeting of EU environmental ministers in Milan yesterday.
Environmental and climate change policies, the minister noted, offer the greatest potential for job creation and opportunities for economic growth, as exemplified by areas such as waste and efficient use of resources and energy in buildings.
“This should be reflected in the EU Strategy for 2020. The interim evaluation stands as a unique opportunity to strengthen the environmental dimension of this strategy and to increase integration of green policies in the European Semester. This requires more active participation by the Environment Council in the governance process,” Mr. Maniatis concluded.
Current EU policies, Mr. Maniatis noted, were developed within the framework of the European Strategy for 2020, accepted as the dominant European strategy instead of the Strategy for Sustainable Development, which pursues a more holistic approach.
“Although the strategy for 2020 aims for growth and jobs, it is, in practice, focused on austerity measures in order to achieve the reduction of national debt levels and to counter fiscal and economic challenges,” noted Mr. Maniatis, who added that the approach was causing very serious problems for several member states.
Mr. Maniatis also pointed out that the EU strategy for 2020 has failed to adequately incorporate social and environmental dimensions. “We allow the economy, as measured by GDP, to be the primary objective and not the means.”