While the recovery after COVID-19 crisis is a top priority, the EESC stresses that this should not steer the EU away from its medium and long-term objectives, as outlined in the European Green Deal, 2020 Sustainable Growth Strategy, and the European Pillar for Social Rights. There is a need for a resilient, technology-driven European economy that is defined by the protection of the environment. The EESC underlines that strategies aimed at enhanced economic sustainability need to be developed around productivity, but they cannot be allowed to happen at the expense of workers' rights and social development. The EESC advocates for re-thinking supply chains, underlines that social aspects should be emphasised, start-ups should be encouraged and that the cornerstone of sustainable economic growth in the EU should be the creation and development of a truly circular economy. Open dialogue with social partners and civil society remains key to setting the economic direction.
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This opinion will look into the possibilities to engage with young people in a formal way at institutional level and provide the building blocks for a new structured approach to youth engagement at EU level.
The EESC is currently drafting an opinion that aims to define what "the sustainable economy we need" should look like by exploring new economic models, investment decisions vis-à-vis technological advances as well as novel indicators for growth and competitiveness.
Young people have the right to have a say on matters that concern them. The climate emergency the world is facing today has mobilised millions of young people around the world, many of whom are profoundly affected by the threat it poses for their future. At the same time, it is the young people who have repeatedly demonstrated their energy, creativity and motivation to challenge current unsustainable models and push the decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies. Despite that, a wide gap remains between listening to young people, and actually acting upon their calls and demands.
World Population Day will take place on Saturday 11 July, and this year's theme will be the unmet goals of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development – where governments recognised that reproductive health and gender equality were essential for achieving sustainable development.
As Europe slowly emerges from the coronavirus crisis, the climate emergency is starting to regain the place it deserves, coming back to the top of the EU agenda.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which brings together civil society organisations from all Member States, developed this Opinion in response to a request by the Republic of Croatia's Presidency of the Council of the EU. The protection of the environment and the fight against climate change are the presidency's key issues.
- European Green Deal must lead to more economic prosperity and convergence
- Sustainable growth must be a top priority
- Measures to close the investment gap are essential
The EU is currently confronted with emergencies that are challenging its prevailing economic models. Slogans that until recently were used as the flagship of the European project, such as growth, jobs and prosperity, are no longer enough to speak to the hearts of the young generations of Europeans. The EU is under pressure to respond to a number of multifaceted challenges, which originated from a decade of economic and migration crises, social discontent and environmental degradation. It needs to reinvent itself fast, for the sake of its citizens.
The Council adopted a set of conclusions on the implementation by the EU of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 10 December and explicitly acknowledged the critical role played by civil society in implementing and achieving the SDGs.
Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires more than political commitment, says the European Economic and Social Committee. Increased investment, especially by the private sector, is needed to address current economic, social and environmental challenges. The Committee therefore advises the EU and its Member States to adjust their investment and tax policies to enhance growth prospects, and thereby private sector contributions, to accomplishing the SDGs.