By Jan Dirx, member of the Diversity Europe Group

The European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council President Charles Michel, among others, advocate for a green recovery and reconstruction for the EU after the coronavirus crisis. Lobbyists of the old economic order argue, however, that now is not the time for innovation, but rather to invest in restoring the old system.

The EESC, with its Post-COVID crisis recovery and reconstruction subcommittee, wants to contribute to the discussion on how the EU and the Member States should proceed after the COVID-19 crisis. For the Committee, the name of its subcommittee is the programme. We cannot simply restore what existed in the past; we need to restructure and improve it based on protecting human rights, democratic values and the rule of law, achieving the sustainable development goals, creating a circular economy and achieving climate neutrality within the EU by 2050.

By having formulated its vision and action plan in this way, the EESC will have the support of the nearly 100 civil society organisations who recently published a petition which calls on EU and national leaders to tackle the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with solidarity, courage and innovation.

Civil society demands the establishment of the biggest green investment programme the world has ever seen, backed up by all available EU financial tools to fund a recovery that is both green and fair.

Many plans are already being made regarding where the many billions of euros for the Green Deal and the reconstruction of the economy must go. Proposals include the construction, energy and transport sector, the general functioning of the economy, the agriculture and food production and finally, and most importantly, the health systems.

Let us hope that when EU legislators decide on the European Commission's recovery plan for Europe, we can say with all honesty that these will lead us to a more resilient, sustainable and fair Europe.