The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 represents a turning point in the way the international community has decided to tackle global issues by bringing together economic, environmental and social dimensions in an integrated manner. The economy should be an enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It is therefore time to reflect upon a possible transition to a new economic model, which allows both people and planet to thrive and prosper.
On 27 February, the NAT Section will debate the EU Reflection Paper and the way forward with representatives from the EU institutions and civil society stakeholders, with a view of providing input to the preparation of the EESC opinion on this topic.
The Civil Society Days 2019 will take place at a crucial moment for Europe, namely after the Sibiu Summit and the European elections and ahead of the constitution of the new European Parliament and European Commission.
Current pressures on our democratic systems are threatening fundamental values (respect for human rights, individual liberty, equality, the rule of law) and the civil society space within the European Union. The alarming consequence is an erosion of democracy and restricted civic space in several parts of the EU.
Against this backdrop and in consideration of the transformation processes the EU is facing, namely on economic, energy and ecological, social, and democratic and participatory level, this year's Civil Society Days will focus on two main pillars, Democracy and Sustainability, and will explore their links and interactions.
On 12 February, the Sustainable Development Observatory will hold a debate on the EU Reflection Paper on Sustainable Europe by 2030. It will then look at several national strategies and processes involving civil society actors.
The core mission of the EESC Sustainable Development Observatory (SDO) is to promote sustainability in the EU by advancing economic prosperity, social inclusiveness and environmental responsibility in an integrated and balanced way. Its members come from a wide range of interest groups, with expertise in all areas of our work and extensive outreach with civil society organisations across European Member States.
Finland assumes today, for the third time in its history, the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We all agree there is no other alternative than accelerate sustainability. The faster the transition, the better it will be for prosperity and democracy in Europe. I strongly welcome the clear message from President Antti Rinne “A key priority of Finland’s Presidency is the EU’s global leadership in climate action.”
As EESC President, I welcome the new strategic agenda for 2019-2024 adopted on Thursday by the European heads of state and government. There is no other alternative than to strengthen the role of the European Union in an increasing volatile and unsettled changing world. At the last European elections, citizens have given us five years to build the Europe of tomorrow. We cannot waste this new chance and deliver business-as-usual. Now it is the right time to show great European leadership to deliver a genuine #rEUnaissance and ensure a strong sustainable development vision for tomorrow's Europe.