Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home Members Nick Prag Italy off to green start

Italy off to green start

Posted by Nick Prag at 03 July 2014, 18:55 CET |
Filed under:

As Italy took over at the helm of the EU on 1 July, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi picked out growth as the main objective of his country's six-month stint as EU president.

But not just any old growth. Italy's next six months promises to have a strong green hue.

Major initiatives include a circular, or zero-waste economy; green growth and jobs; a 2030 climate and energy framework; reform of the EU carbon market; and initiatives on air quality.

The European Commission kicked off this week with a new policy package that pushes for higher recycling targets and an ambitious virtual total elimination of landfill.

This target is in fact on the horizon for some EU Member States, who can already point to a 70 per cent recycling rate with virtually no landfill.

The goal for the Commission will be to pull all countries up to this standard by the year 2030.

The package contains a broad review of the EU's existing waste framework, landfill and packaging and packaging waste directives.

The Commission has also highlighted the issue of sustainable food and buildings, with proposals on how to systematically track and reduce food waste,  and how to improve information on the environmental performance of buildings.

As the Italian presidency takes this package forward, it will also try to broker a second reading agreement between the Member States and MEPs on reducing single use plastic bags. 

It is seen as likely that national governments will accept the Parliament's call before the elections for reduction targets. They may however be more hesitant about mandatory charges for plastic bags and special treatment for biodegradable and compostable bags.

In the broader bigger scheme of things, it is growth and jobs in particular that are key priorities for the Italian presidency.

In line with this, the Commission also unveiled a Green Employment communication on 1 July. This outlines employment challenges and opportunities as Europe moves towards a green, low carbon, energy and resource-efficient economy.

Finally, the Green Action Plan for SMEs emphasises the role of green growth in ensuring a lasting economic recovery.

So, a lot of green to be getting on with.

Whether the plans have the direction and new ideas to take Europe forward has to be debated.

What businesses want is concrete, tailored guidance on their day-to-day operations, and they need this to be cost-neutral in the main as well as practice-oriented.

But the green economy is going to play a big role in increasing Europe's global competitiveness. The goal is not just a reshaping of the labour market, but a reshaping of Europe's economy.

Green jobs

Document Actions
Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.