- I thank you for the opportunity to take part in this briefing which we all agree is very timely. I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
- Overall, the European economy reflects a dualistic picture today. While the real economy is still in stagnation or recession, the worst market tensions have eased and confidence has been returning. The forecast of the European Commission – and that of the ECB – projects that Europe is expected to return to growth gradually in the course of 2013, and the recovery should become more robust as we move into 2014.
- The IMF in its update of the World Economic Outlook a fortnight ago said that Global growth is projected to increase during 2013, as the factors underlying soft global activity are expected to subside.
- What explains the rising optimism, which was also evident in Davos? One reason is that feared disasters – a break-up of the eurozone or a fall over the US fiscal cliff – have been avoided. Another is that substantial post-crisis adjustment has occurred.
- WESP 2013, and the presentation this morning, rightly points out that Global unemployment remains very high, particularly among developed economies, with the situation in Europe being particularly challenging. There is a growing international recognition among policy makers that job creation should remain at the centre of economic and more broadly sustainable development strategies. We agree that the greatest current challenge in the aftermath of the global financial and economic crises is coping with the unemployment situation. The need to build a “safety net” for cases of economic downturn is also increasingly being stressed as an important priority. Systems of social security have proven to be effective in mitigating the negative effects of economic crises; safeguarding jobs and stabilizing the economy as a whole. This is why we strongly supports ILO’s recommendation No. 202 on Social Protection Floors which encourages establishing nationally defined sets of basic social security guarantees all over the world.
- We are also committed towards environmental sustainability and in this context promoting Green jobs is key. These jobs include work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution.
In this regard we would be interested to hear an estimate of the benefits for developing countries in terms of GDP growth, jobs and external balance from the adoption of ‘green growth’ policy option, that is also presented in Chapter 1 of WESP?
Also some more elaboration would be useful on the role emerging countries are playing in terms of transmission effects? How and where are positive growth effects in emerging countries felt in the rest of the world?