Faster action urged on environmental technologies

Implementation of the priorities in last year's EU Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) is "well under way" - but action needs to be intensified in order to achieve a decisive impact.

Those were the key messages in the European Commission's first progress report on the implementation of ETAP, issued at the end of January.1ETAP was conceived as a means of helping the EU capture a greater share of the world market for environmental goods and services, estimated at more than E500 billion per year - comparable to aerospace or pharmaceuticals. It has assumed growing importance as European politicians seek to focus environmental policy on competitiveness.

At EU level, the Commission sees the need for more urgent action on several fronts, including:

  • EU financial instruments need to mobilise finance for eco-innovation.

  • Environmental performance targets for products, processes and services are needed "as a matter of priority".

  • Efforts to set up an EU-wide system for testing and verifying environmental technologies should be intensified.

  • Indicators are needed to help analyse the "development of eco-innovation and evolution of environmental technologies' markets."

    At national level, the report also urges action on several fronts. The Commission wants Member States to establish road maps for implementing ETAP by the end of 2005, draw up national action plans on green procurement, and play their part in mobilising risk funding for eco-innovations.

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