As Europe’s response to the economic crisis is now having a clear impact on environmental and social policies across most of Europe and the EU at large, overexploiting the natural environment is seen by troubled member states as a quick-fix solution for rapid economic recovery. The oil & gas frenzy that dominates the development agenda in many Mediterranean states and threatens natural treasures of global significance, environmental deregulation, backsliding of the EU from its own forward-looking green policies, are signs of these dire times of austerity and political paralysis in facing the dismal reality of the non-ending economic crisis.
WWF knows that the EU is wasting a crisis that signals the need for good change.
As stressed in an open WWF letter addressed to European leaders in 2012, “[t]he crisis must be viewed as more than merely fiscal. It reflects a deficient economic model grounded in an overleveraged banking system and mismanaged national finances and natural resources. It is a system built on a paradigm of unlimited growth and resource overexploitation and overconsumption, which has resulted in an increasing ecological deficit. Currently implemented policies exacerbate this ecological deficit, worsening longer-term environmental remediation costs. This puts in question Europe’s commitment to an agenda of resource efficiency, eco-innovation and sustainability.”
On the occasion of the Italian EU Presidency, which was launched with special emphasis on greening the EU Semester and promoting a sustainable growth agenda, WWF called for "a clear commitment to green priorities in the economic and employment policies and to invest primarily in 4 key innovative sectors: 1. renewable energy, 2. sustainable transport, 3. energy efficiency of buildings, 4. Natura 2000 network management.
Best wishes for a colourful and exciting autumn.
Theodota Nantsou, WWF Greece, and Isabella Pratesi, WWF Italy