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Promoting eco-innovations: The Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) of the EU Commission

Miriam Dross and Wiebke Hederich

elni Review 2006, pp. 52-54.

In 2004, the European Commission introduced a new instrument to its environmental policy: The Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) was adopted in January 2004 (COM (2004) 38). It includes an overview of promising technologies which could address major environmental problems; an analysis of the market and institutional barriers that are holding back development and use of specific technologies; and a targeted package of measures, building on existing instruments, to address these barriers. With the help of ETAP, the Commission wants to make the development of environmental technologies a fundamental part of its environmental strategy. Along the lines of the Lisbon strategy, which tries to yoke together economic growth, job creation and a better environment, ETAP wants to improve the situation for business, jobs and the environment simultaneously. Given the contribution that environmental technologies make to economic growth and employment, this program intends to protect the environment and, at the same time, enhance innovation and competitiveness in Europe. In this way, the Commission is also reacting to a widespread view, which holds that command and control approaches should be complemented by other instruments, if not given up all together. A first assessment by the Commission and extensive stakeholder consultations proved the complexity of switching from traditional to new technologies. During this process, insufficient access to capital was identified as a key barrier to a broader use of environmental technologies. As a result, ETAP attempts to tackle the barriers by both an effective information policy and diverse financial instruments.

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  1. Richtlinie 2005/32/EG des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates vom 6. Juli 2005 zur Schaffung eines Rahmens für die Festlegung von Anforderungen an die umweltgerechte Gestaltung energiebetriebener Produkte und zur Änderung der Richtlinie 92/42/EWG des Rates sowie der Richtlinien 96/57/EG und 2000/55/EG des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates, OJ 2005 L 191/29.