The European Union must get closer to its citizens and become the global leader in sustainable development, argues the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in a bold opinion on the future of the EU, which was adopted at its plenary session in March.
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On 16 September, the Diversity Europe Group held its Extraordinary meeting in Helsinki (Finland) - at the Auditorium (Annex Building of the Parliament).
The meeting entitled Boosting EU competitiveness – 3 pillars for sustainable growth will mainly focussed on bioeconomy and climate neutral Europe, digitalization and infrastructure in transport sector.
The event aims to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the European Union in the post-2020 era. The discussions will focus on the programme of the new European Commission, which will be taking up office in just a few weeks' time. The speakers will also exchange views on a wide range of topical issues, such as the challenges posed by new technologies, Brexit, sustainable development and the development of Europe’s Green Deal. The event will be addressed by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Chris Fearne and by leading local business representatives and stakeholders in the European institutions.
As in previous years, the EESC was present at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), from Tuesday, 16 July, to Thursday, 18 July 2019. The HLPF is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
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.
At this event, different stakeholders will discuss the need of a fair and just transition and a European Green Deal that leave no one behind. This transition means that the most vulnerable members of society, as well as regions and territories that are in the need of special consideration, have to be involved in decision-making. These aspects will be addressed by the panellists in an interactive discussion.
The conference highlighted the position taken by the EESC in its opinion on the Reflection Paper "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030", which was due for adoption in September 2019. The event provided concrete and constructive recommendations to the new European Commission and the new European Parliament.
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 15 October, the Consumers and Environment Category of the EESC held its public event on the topic 'New EU goals and policies for sustainable development - Joint perspective of consumers and environmentalists'.
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.