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“The Treaty Versus the Ideal World: Employment and the Environment”

Barnes, P. M. (1999) “The Treaty Versus the Ideal World: Employment and the Environment”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Unpublished)

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    Among the urgent priorities which the European Union (EU) faces at the beginning of the 21st century is creating an environmental policy which will effectively contribute to the job creation process. In July 1997 the European Commission presented a Communication on Environment and Employment (CEC 1997a) intended to take the debate forward within the EU on overcoming environmental degradation while reducing Europe’s unacceptably high level of unemployment. This paper puts forward the view that the attempts to link employment opportunities to environmental improvement are not misplaced but that simply too much may be made of the positive aspects of the linkage. This is despite the fact that most of the evidence from Europe and the U.S. supports a more skeptical view of the extent to which environmental projection measures will destroy rather than create jobs. I argue that the Commission Communication supports a somewhat unrealistic view of what can be achieved in the employment creation potential of environmental protection measures. As a consequence, the Commission is in danger of supporting a strategy which has a misplaced focus. A more rewarding strategy which would protect the environment would be to concentrate on achieving the objectives of Article 6 TEC to integrate environmental objectives to all areas of the EU’s policies. In addition, the focus of attention to create employment should remain on the necessity to promote measures which would improve the overall level of competitiveness of European industry. The main advantage of the Commission’s 1997 Communication appears to be that it provides a framework for those who wish to challenge the orthodoxy of the view that environmental protection measures will inevitably destroy jobs. Its disadvantage is that it reduces the value of two distinct aspirations (protect the environment and create employment) with substantial merit in their own right.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > employment/unemployment
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1999 (6th), June 2-5, 1999
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 05 May 2006
    Page Range: p. 35
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:21

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