Over 20 million new jobs could be created in Europe's green economy over the next decade if EU member states adopt Brussels' new jobs package and make low-carbon industries central to their national employment plans.
The package has been released in response to spiralling unemployment in the EU-27 countries, which hit an all-time high of 10.2 per cent in February.
The new proposals
, which are designed to help create a more dynamic labour market across the EU, identify the green economy as a means of cushioning the bloc against long-term structural changes that threaten Europe's competiveness, while also providing an engine for growth alongside health services and ICT.
Climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard suggests that energy-efficiency measures could lead to two million jobs by 2020, increased recycling of key materials could create 560,000 new jobs by 2025, and 2.8 million people could work in renewable energy by the end of the decade.
"If Europe does not step up its green economy efforts, we risk losing an immense source of quality jobs," she said. "If we water down our efforts on energy efficiency, we water down the job potential as well."
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has claimed 48 million new jobs could be created in the green economies of 12 countries if new low carbon investments amounting to two per cent of GDP are made over the next five years.
"The outlook for transitioning to a greener economy with decent work will benefit workers, business and national economies and future generations," she added.