Less than two weeks ago, the citizens of Europe expressed their democratic right and voted in the European elections. For the first time in the EU elections' history, the turnout was higher than in the previous round and higher than in any European election since 1994. Clearly, the legitimate concerns over climate change and environment were on top of the agenda of voters in many European countries and also in all the four main political forces.
In view of the informal Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the EU on the future of Europe in Sibiu (Romania), on 9 may 2019, the EESC, as the institutional representative of organised civil society, sets out its own vision of the future with Europe becoming the world leader on sustainable development. To this end, The Committee calls for a new strategy based on a global, cross-sectoral approach focusing on the needs of the citizens with the primary goal of sustainability.
Sustainable development with its economic, social and environmental dimensions is an inevitable approach to the future. Enterprises play a crucial role as generators of sustainable development. A favourable business environment is needed to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of sustainability. This document summarises the views of the Employers' Group on sustainable development.
The three "mobility packages" published by the European Commission (EC) under the far-reaching Europe on the Move initiative (2017 – 2018) have aimed at fundamental modernisation of European mobility, while focusing mainly on road transport. The European Economic and Social Committee´s opinions issued as a response to the EC´s initiative were presented in the first and second volumes of a recently published brochure entitled Europe on the Move.
Responding to substantial changes in the transport sector, between May 2017 and May 2018 the European Commission (EC) published three 'mobility packages' falling under the major political initiative Europe on the Move.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has carefully followed all these developments in order to give an exhaustive response from Civil Society to this far-reaching initiative.
Civil society intends to play its part in the run up to the European elections scheduled for 23-26 May. To mobilise members and civil society organisations at all levels, the European Economic and Social Committee organised an event titled Civil Society for rEUnaissance on 21 February 2019.
The creation and emergence of Industry4Europe in the European political arena shows the strong capacity we have when we need to deliver. You have done it well! I refer to your extremely concrete joint call to the candidates for the 2019 European elections. In it, you are rightly calling the future Parliament and the future European Commission to put industry at the top of the European political agenda. The manufacturing sector weighs for more than 20% of the European GDP and it is an essential driver of employment.
The project of accelerating the circular economy transition has been an excellent example of EU synergy in action. The ambitious circular economy initiatives adopted by the Commission, coupled with our Committee's access to a widespread civil society network, are paving the way toward a more sustainable European economy. We believe that the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is a powerful living bridge, linking the EU institutions with grassroots civil society organisations, promoting and sharing circular economy solutions for all citizens, for the well-being of present and future generations.
This is an important day. We are gathered here a little over ninety days before the European elections to ask the question: are we brave enough to grasp the urgency of the moment?
I welcome the much-awaited reflection paper of the European Commission "Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030". I wish to congratulate First Vice-President Timmermans and Vice-President Katainen for this result. Now there is another window of opportunity to further push the sustainable development agenda, which must become the EU's top priority for the next decade. Let us be clear though: this is only the beginning of the road towards an ambitious and successful implementation of the sustainable agenda.