EU Environmental Policy and Competitiveness
Protection of the environment was not a specific importance to the Community although the Treaty of Rome expressly specified that "health, safety, environmental protection" shall be based on "a high level of protection". In deciding upon a framework for a European environmental policy, the Community was also responding to increased public awareness of the problem and concerns about the state of the natural and man-made environment. During the past years, competitiveness concerns have dominated the EU policy debate, in the course of which a growing consensus is being developed on the importance of eco-innovations and resource efficiency for EU competitiveness and on the market opportunities they offer. There is increasing evidence that environmental policy and eco-innovations can promote economic growth, as well as maintain and create jobs, contributing both to competitiveness and employment. Environmental constraints to rapid economic growth are increasingly recognized by countries, leading to a rising awareness of the need for sustainable development. Implementation of an environmental policy, however, generates significant implications for competition among countries.
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