The economic benefits of environmental policy – Final Report

Rayment, M., Pirgmaier, E., De Ceuster, G., Hinterberger, F., Kuik, O., Leveson Gower, H., Polzin, C. & A. Varma (2009)

Executive summary:

The European Union aspires to become the most dynamic and competitive economy in the world. The Lisbon Strategy, launched by EU leaders in 2000 and subsequently revised and simplified in 2005, emphasises the need to modernise Europe’s economy and focus attention on growth and employment, in order to address the challenges of globalisation and demographic change and to support our wider economic, social and environmental goals. To achieve this, the updated strategy emphasises the need for Europe to become a more attractive place to live and work, to develop knowledge and innovation for growth, and to create more and better jobs.

The current global economic crisis represents a significant setback in implementing Europe’s economic agenda, with problems of loss of demand, unemployment and deteriorating public fi-nances. In order to address these economic problems, restore growth and tackle unemployment, a European Economic Recovery Plan (European Commission, 2008) was launched, which sets out the actions the EU will implement to deal with the crisis.

The European Commission (DG Environment) commissioned GHK, IVM, SERI and TML to as-sess the role of environmental policy measures in the EU’s economic development.

This report describes the areas in which environmental policies deliver Europe’s current eco-nomic priorities, often more successfully than other forms of economic policy intervention. It provides evidence of the role of environmental policy both in providing a short term economic stimulus and in building a sustainable, efficient and resilient economy in the long term. It high-lights many areas where environmental policy is essential for sustainable economic progress.

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