Brussels, 13/02/2006

The report clearly demonstrates that improving the environment can make a positive contribution to the creation of jobs, better working conditions and the reduction of social inequalities. It also points out the need to anticipate the impacts of environmental regulations on employment so they can be reconciled with social challenges, and the positive role dialogue between the social partners can play in anticipating and managing negative consequences.

The ETUC is convinced that the objective of sustainable development must guide European policies. "When we leave millions of unqualified young people idle, when we ignore the risks related to climate change and urban pollution, we are putting brakes on Europe's economic growth", declared the ETUC General Secretary John Monks.

Building another model of development for Europe implies finding solutions for all non-sustainable trends: economic, social and environmental. So far, however, the European Union has been more concerned with reconciling the environment and economic growth, with the creation of the European carbon market, for instance. For John Monks, "it is urgent to consolidate the third base of the triangle of sustainable development ", namely the synergy between social and employment policies and environmental policies.

The ETUC considers that efforts should focus as a matter of priority on:
- a European energy policy that takes fully into account the objectives of access for all to energy services and decent jobs in the energy sector, an essential condition for the safety of installations and networks;

- improvement of the quality of the Commission's impact studies through further integration of the social aspects, as recommended in the report commissioned by the European Parliament on this subject. European climate change policies must be based on better anticipation of impacts on employment and social cohesion;

- for the positive potential of job creation to become a reality, active policies involving the public authorities and the social partners are vital. As part of the national reform plans, the Member States must be encouraged to put in place lifelong training programmprogrammes and new training actions in the environmental sector.