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The Various Interests Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a conference entitled "LET'S TALK HAPPINESS - beyond GDP" on 10 June 2014 at the EESC headquarters in Brussels. The objective of the conference was to debate indicators on well-being and social progress in the context of a transition to an alternative mode of growth.

The main aims of the conference included:

  • State of affairs: Where we are today. The usefulness of indicators beyond GDP, analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. How can we measure well-being in developed countries
  • Democratic challenges: Bridging the gap with citizens. The respective role of Institutions and of Civil society in the selection and monitoring of indicators of well-being
  • Political commitment: Long term commitment on the production of well-being indicators beyond GDP. Where and when do we take action on the choice and follow-up of indicators? How actions taken today might affect future well-being? Europe 2020, Post 2015, NSSD, etc.

The conference provided the opportunity to reflect on how to define and measure the well-being of European citizens and the sustainability of their lifestyles. The event also aimed to provide an overview of the work done on this topic. Research and field experience of stakeholders demonstratde the importance and urgency of reconsidering wealth indicators as a means to reframing the current debate on economic policy.