Brussels, 29 Jan 2004
The Environmental Technology Action Plan (ETAP) was adopted by the European Commission on 28 January, with the dual objective of developing environmental technologies and enhancing European competitiveness.
Factors such as lack of capital, complex regulations or insufficient research efforts have, until now, impeded a wider use of these technologies, believes the Commission. With ETAP, the Commission aims to surmount these barriers with a concerted European effort. Further developing the technologies would increase European competitiveness, encourage the development of new markets, create highly-skilled jobs, and at the same time encourage the use of more environmentally-friendly techniques.
'This action plan is a pragmatic way to address the joint 'sustainable development' challenges of protecting the environment and at the same time enhancing innovation and competitiveness in Europe,' stated Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. 'There are many people who have brilliant ideas for new technologies that protect the environment. Often, however, they don't find the money to develop these ideas, or, if they do, the technologies are not taken up due to conservative attitudes and unhelpful markets. With the Action Plan, we want to change these attitudes and break down barriers to environmental technologies.'
The ambition behind the plan is to further Europe's technological development with the objective of becoming 'the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world', as endorsed at the Lisbon Summit in 2000.
'Europe is among the world leaders in the development of environmental technologies such as photovoltaics, wind energy and hydroelectric power, and pollution control through better waste management,' added Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. 'We have to foster the development of other key environmental technologies as well. They bear a strong potential for growth and employment. Of course, this requires a boost to our R&D [research and development] efforts, by maximising the impact of European research through enhanced coordination and synergies and by increasing the R&D expenditure up to three per cent of EU GDP by 2010.'
To achieve this ambitious goal, ETAP sets out 11 priority actions, including the creation of three technology platforms involving all stakeholders, and the mobilisation of all available financial instruments for a more cost-effective investment in environmental technologies
ETAP will be further discussed at the European Council in March, and its implementation reviewed in 2006.
For more information on ETAP, please visit: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/et ap