Liaison Group Newsletter - July 2019

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Edito by EESC President

A new EU legislature is starting in the coming months and it will be pivotal for the development of the EU as it faces environmental, economic, social and societal challenges, including the still on-going Brexit process and threats from populist forces. It is in this context that at the beginning of this month, Finland assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the third time in its history. We must manage to look beyond national interests and tactical positioning to the pressing issues at hand. Decision making has been on hold for too long. Courageous steps forward are necessary. I am thus pleased that Helsinki has adopted a similar slogan to my own for its Presidency: Sustainable Europe, Sustainable Future. We all agree there is no other alternative than to accelerate measures towards sustainability. The faster the transition, the better it will be for prosperity and democracy in Europe. This transition must involve all sectors of civil society, and promote sustainability in social, economic, environmental and cultural fields. Agenda 2030 should be the driving force in the European Union and must become the EU's overarching strategy for the next decade. The next European budget must earmark not just 25 %, but 40 % of total resources to the sustainable development and climate change agenda. I thus welcome the Finnish commitment to Agenda 2030, which has to be implemented "both within and beyond the EU." We must move urgently. It is now or never.

Luca Jahier, EESC President, Co-Chair of the Liaison Group