'Sustainability and the environment must be at the heart of social inclusion policies if we are to combat poverty and provide a good quality of life for all', was the warning from Green Euro MP Jean Lambert as she spoke at the European Commission's conference 'Speak out Louder in Europe' today.
Jean, who is set to embark on the second stage of her report 'Integrating social inclusion, employment and the environment', spoke as part of a panel debating 'How to make EU Policy more inclusive?'
Jean commented: "To ensure EU policy is inclusive for all we need to have a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach where the environment is integrated into all employment and social inclusion strategies. If we fail to do this social cohesion and quality of life will not be improved or sustainable and we will not meet our environmental goals. The role of NGO's and local organisations is crucial if we are to develop social policies and think of Europe as a Social Europe and not a Business Europe.
"My previous report found that young people from economically and socially excluded backgrounds are extremely concerned about localised environment issues but training schemes have so far failed to take this into account. It is vital that we harness this energy and enthusiasm and offer green training to build a sustainable future. After all how will we meet CO2 reduction targets if we don't have any trained solar panel fitters for example?"
During the debate, which took place at the DTI Conference Centre, Jean was joined on the panel by James Bridge, Age Concern; Colon Law, RNIB and Annette Lawson from NAWO.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
Speak out Louder in Europe: The European Commission is seeking to reach
out to citizens across Europe, a number of initiatives are ongoing at national
and EU level to make this a reality. One of the current initiatives is the Consultation
launched in February by Commission Vice President Margot Wallstrom to her Communications
White Paper. This paper covers how the European Commission communicates with
the public and civil society and how it should consult to ensure that EU legislation
is relevant and appropriate to all.