Reflection Paper 'Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030'

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EESC section opinion: Reflection Paper 'Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030'

The Reflection Paper focuses on four key policy foundations for the sustainability transition, which include:

  • moving from linear to circular economy,
  • correcting the imbalances in our food system,
  • future-proofing our energy, buildings and mobility, and
  • making sure that this transition is fair, leaving no one and no place behind.

The Paper also concentrates on the horizontal enablers, which need to underpin the sustainability transition, including education, science, technology, research, innovation and digitisation; finance, pricing, taxation and competition; responsible business conduct, corporate social responsibility and new business models; open and rules-based trade; governance and policy coherence at all levels.

The Paper ends by emphasising the importance of paving the way for the sustainability transition globally as EU policies will only have a limited impact on the planet if others pursue opposing policies. The Paper is accompanied by a detailed set of annexes reviewing the performances and recent measures taken by the EU in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Reflection Paper puts forward three scenarios to stimulate the discussion on how to follow up on the SDGs within the EU.
The three scenarios are:

  • An overarching EU SDGs strategy guiding the actions of the EU and its Member States;
  • A continued mainstreaming of the SDGs in all relevant EU policies by the Commission, but not enforcing Member States' action; and
  • An enhanced focus on external action while consolidating current sustainability ambition at EU level.