Brussels, 10 June 2002
Innovation in environmentally-friendly technologies must be encouraged to drive forward competitiveness and sustainable development, state the conclusions of the EU Industry Council, which met in Luxembourg on 6 June.
The application of new technologies in pursuit of sustainable development can provide new opportunities for harnessing Europe's competitive potential, the ministers agreed. Innovation to boost the application of environmentally-friendly technologies must be encouraged, as it will lead to more efficient use of resources and a reduction in emissions at the same time as making the EU more competitive.
The ministers also agreed that care must be taken to ensure the new EU strategy for chemicals promotes innovation and preserves industrial competitiveness, without imposing costs, test requirements or administrative burdens which put them at a disadvantage to their competitors.
The ministers called for the establishment of a regulatory framework to support and encourage the development of and investment in environmental technologies, as within the EU's Sixth Framework programme for research and development.
It was also agreed that the Industry Council will regularly examine proposals and initiatives which affect the competitiveness of European companies and which could hinder the economic component of sustainable development.
The Council undertakes to 'assess regularly whether balance is being maintained between the three pillars of sustainable development, particularly in respect of the competitiveness of European companies, and to draw up appropriate conclusions in relation to the remedial measures required,' state the conclusions.