Hundreds of thousands of people are joining Greta Thunberg today for a Global Strike for Future. We can only support the appeal of these young people, who resolutely aim to forge a sustainable Europe, a sustainable planet.
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This week at the Conference of Committee Chairs in Strasbourg, I reiterated once again to MEPs that we need to rapidly move toward a rEUnaissance Dare a Sustainable Europe. I laid out the EESC's efforts on the issue and our concrete plans following Sibiu and the EU elections.
Who can contradict President Emmanuel Macron's call for a European Renaissance? Europe has achieved so much in 60 years of peace, but we cannot take it for granted any longer and must do the utmost to preserve it. No one can disagree with the fact that such a long, uninterrupted period of peace on our continent has not happened for centuries. Likewise, our Single Market, despite economic ups and downs (the oil crisis of the 1970s and the extremely serious and long-lasting crisis of 2007), has generated economic growth and prosperity. The cost of non-Europe is clear.
The European Union has a strategy which, if embraced decisively by its Member States and European civil society, would enable it to embark on an upward economic, social, environmental and institutional course. This strategy is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is based on the EU Treaty itself.
As we prepare to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we can hardly remain composed in our mourning. Rather than observe silence as the deepest mourning is solitary, we feel like shouting. Why is anti-Semitism not dead, not in Europe and not even in the United States? Why in France last year was a Holocaust survivor stabbed and burned to death in her apartment? Why the year before was a retired kindergarten teacher, Sarah Halimi, murdered and subsequently thrown from her Paris balcony?
Who would dispute that memory and commemoration are not part of the journey towards crafting stronger national identities? No historian, no anthropologist, no ethnographer would argue against that. However, as we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through lengthy speeches, exhibits in historical museums, and brief visits to historic sites.
Today, marks the 30th anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty — and the recognition by the United Nations - 25 years ago - of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Nearly 1 billion people have escaped poverty worldwide since the 1st #EndPoverty Day, but too many others have been left behind.
This week, I exchanged views with representatives of national parliaments and Members of the European Parliament on the future of Europe as we have a co-responsibility in carving the narrative on the European Union. I presented what the Committee has done on the future of Europe and our plans ahead of Sibiu and the EU elections. Drawing conclusions from the wealth of activities, it is clear that whatever the Future of Europe will be, it will have to be citizens-driven.
On behalf of the EESC, I would like to congratulate Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations for launching a strategy aimed at financing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. We fully endorse Agenda 2030 as this is a win-win strategy: it is good for economic growth and competitiveness, it is good for companies and it is good for workers, and it is good for the planet.