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European Commission Adopts Green Employment Initiative

European Union2 July 2014: The European Commission has adopted a communication on the employment challenges and opportunities of a transition towards the green economy. The communication sets out an integrated framework for employment and labor market policies at the EU and national levels to support this transition.

The communication, titled ‘Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the Job Creation Potential of the Green Economy,' outlines related opportunities and challenges, presents policy responses, and puts forward priorities for action. The communication stresses the shift to a green and resource-efficient economy as an opportunity to enhance competitiveness, well-being, and sustainable and high-quality employment. It describes the labor market and skills as key enablers for green growth, emphasizes the need to understand the labor market implications of the transition to the green economy, and stresses the need to better target and coordinate labour market measures and tools.

The communication presents policy responses and tools aimed at: ensuring a more active role for employment and labor market policies; guaranteeing a convergence of the employment and environmental agendas; and contributing to the attainment of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives.

Comprising an integrated framework for employment and labor market policies at EU and national levels, the communication recommends the following policy responses: bridging skills gaps, including through skills development and needs forecasting; anticipating change, securing transitions and promoting mobility; supporting job creation, including by shifting taxes from labor to environmental taxation; and increasing data quality. The communication further recommends promoting social dialogue for a just transition, and strengthening international cooperation while taking into account policy linkages in the context of the Post-2015 Development Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Europe 2020 Strategy, the EU's ten-year growth strategy, identifies the transition towards a green economy among the key structural transformations for achieving smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The Green Employment Initiative communication is based on a Commission staff working document from 2012 titled ‘Towards a Job-Rich Recovery,' and complements simultaneously launched communications on the circular economy and the Green Action Plan for SMEs. [European Commission Press Release] [European Commission Memo] [European Commission News Article] [Green Employment Initiative: Tapping into the Job Creation Potential of the Green Economy] [Commission working document 'Towards a Job-Rich Recovery'] [Towards a Circular Economy] [Green Action Plan for SMEs]