Tribune of Jan Noterdaeme
Soon, the European governance and leadership will be renewed, reflecting a continent full of hope and with a lot of fear. On June 20th, the European Heads of State and Government defined the four priorities of the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 (protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European interests and values on the global stage). Some of their statements are ambitious, as they claim Europe's role of “global leader in a green economy” by building a “long-term strategy that is bold, all encompassing, and forward-looking to achieve climate neutrality in a socially just way”.
Now the question is: will the new policy leaders together with civil society, business and the financial markets be ready to translate these priorities in scalable solutions that will impact our collective and day to day well-being?
The outgoing European Commission, under the leadership of President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans - often behind the screens - has prepared the groundwork for us, the actors of business and civil society, to be the co-architects of a sustainable Europe 2030.
As never before, this European Commission has engaged day and night with civil society and experts from across Europe and beyond, to co-think and co-design scalable solutions in order to help Europe achieve the Paris Agreements on Climate and the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
The following examples should be a source of inspiration to continue even more on this path.
The European Multi-Stakeholders Platform on SDGs has reunited 30 of the largest civil society organisations (employers, trade unions, farmers, youth, university, business leaders, green and social NGOs, citizens and regions), which have been able to achieve a minor miracle to agree on how to integrate sustainability at the top and at the heart of European governance and policy making, financial planning and monitoring. By building further policy coherence among such a diversity of stakeholders, the platform will enable the EU Institutions and governments to build policy coherence at their level.
Another example is the great heritage of this Commission to the new one regarding sustainable finance, where hundreds of experts have built the road for financial actors and companies to engage in a continuous dialogue on sustainability, with a view to unlock the 175 billion Europe needs for its economic transition.
Last, the European Pact for Youth, a unique initiative engaging hundreds of companies and youth organisations, which is co-led by top EU policy and business leaders. One strong result is the creation of the Erasmus Pro programme, which allows thousands of young apprentices to access long term mobility across Europe. An initiative that will also accelerate the new Bologna Reform for Vocational Education and Training, which for too long has been neglected.
However, it is vital that Europe invests far more in the emotional, intellectual, spiritual intelligence of its people and stakeholders, which are the entrepreneurs of a Europe that respects nature and climate, and leaves no one behind.
To be read also in the dossier "Small and Bigger Steps Towards a Sustainable Europe":