Executive should follow EU lead in 'green jobs'
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that the Executive should follow the lead of countries across Europe by grasping the opportunities and investing in 'green jobs'.
Ms de Brún was speaking after the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner announced that €105 billion will be invested in the 'green economy' through the EU Cohesion Policy.
The funding, which represents more than 30% of the regional policy budget for 2007-2013, offers a solid platform for job creation and a significant boost for regions and cities in the field of green technologies.
Ms de Brún said:
"There is a very real opportunity to draw on EU funding to create green jobs. This investment could underpin long-term job creation and also the fight against climate change.
"Already across Europe many countries, such as Germany and Finland have made use of the potential to create 'green jobs'. To date the Executive has failed to develop a comprehensive approach to maximising the potential to invest in these areas.
"The €105 billion for green projects and jobs is almost three times more than the sum allocated in the 2000-2006.
"The EU has embraced clear targets in the fight against climate change - a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 20% share of renewable energies by 2020. There is €48 billion for measures aimed at achieving these targets and creating a low carbon economy including €23 billion for railways, €6 billion for clean urban transport, €4.8 billion for renewable energies and €4.2 billion for energy efficiency.
"There is also significant focus on supporting small and medium businesses (SMEs). The Cohesion Policy makes available €3 billion for the promotion of environmentally-friendly products and production processes in SMEs. We made a good start locally in with the excellent cross border STEM project but we have failed to build on this.
"We must put 'green jobs' at the heart of our economic development plans or lose out to others who do." ENDS
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