EU leaders urged to make Europe world champion of sustainable development

The national Economic and Social Councils and the European Economic and Social Committee sent a message to EU leaders from Rome, where they met on 13-14 June to discuss their role in the sustainable development of Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The debate was part of the Annual Meeting of the Presidents and Secretaries-General of the EESC and the Economic and Social Councils of the EU Member States, co-organised by the EESC and Italy's Economic and Social Council (CNEL).

Key speakers in the opening session, attended by the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, included Italy's Foreign Minister, Enzo Moavero Milanesi and CNEL president, Tiziano Treu.

EESC president Luca Jahier called on the new European Parliament and the future Commission to exert a firm and decisive political leadership to enable Europe to become world champion of sustainable development.

The main conclusions of the debate, which were sent to the EU's key institutions, were as follows:

  • the UN's 2030 Agenda has to be the EU's overarching priority for the next decade to tackle five fundamental transitions:
    • an economic transformation,
    • an energy and ecological transformation,
    • an extensive social transformation,
    • a democratic and participatory transformation and
    • a geopolitical transition in international relations.
  • The 2030 Agenda is a win-win strategy:
    • for employers, because the battle for competitiveness will be waged at global level in the sectors linked to the Sustainable Development Agenda;
    • for workers, as several SDGs are linked to the social dimension of Europe;
    • for civil society, which, if fully involved in the governance, could prove decisive in the proper monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs.
  • A roadmap needs to be drawn up to boost implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, significant parts of which remain largely unaddressed.
  • The European Semester process should also be adapted to the 2030 Agenda
  • 40% of the EU's overall budget for 2021-2027 should be devoted to sustainable development.
  • The incoming Commission should include a vice-president in charge of making the SDGs part of all EU policies.
  • This is a project of hope and resilience that has the potential to consolidate unity and solidarity within the EU, mobilising civil society and young people in particular.
  • Economic and Social Councils could act as councils for civic participation, entrusted with the organisation of public consultations on new sustainable development models.
  • As the largest economy in the world, the EU must, through its trade policy, play a fundamental role in promoting the sustainable development agenda at a global level.

The full conclusions of the meeting are available here. (dm)