Next steps for a sustainable European future. Reforming Europe, implementing SDGs

“having a good life that does not cost our planet”

On 7th July, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a conference on “Next steps for a sustainable European future: reforming Europe- implementing SDGs”. SOLIDAR attended the conference to discuss ways towards more equal and inclusive societies with a model to promote prosperity in human rights, fosters peace and be based on worldwide solidarity.

Achieving the Agenda’s goals is a challenge for the member states and for the European Union. It is necessary to take new paths in order to ensure prosperity, both in economic and social terms, and all countries and stakeholders have to ensure the implementation of this Agenda.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 167 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realise the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The expected result is a world free of poverty, hunger and disease and free of war and violence.

The Commission’s first Vice-president, Frans Timmermans expressed the Commission’s ideas on how EU policies (both internally and externally), can improve their contribution to an effective implementation of the SDGs as progress at the EU level needs to be achieved.

SOLIDAR participated to stress the importance of the Agenda for the EU’s internal social and economic policies and stressed the following demands.

High social safeguards need to be established through:

  • Adequate minimum income schemes are the basis for social protection over a person’s life-span and therefore enable people to live a life in dignity.
  • An adequate minimum wage above the level of minimum income with 60% of national median wage as a minimum threshold.
  • Guarantee the non-discriminatory universal access to quality and affordable social, health, inclusive education and training and lifelong learning services as well as basic financial services.

The following principles need to be adhered to: Accessibility (affordability, without discrimination), universality (non-discrimination, inclusion of persons of the informal economy, the relinquishment of negative conditionality and the prescription of the entitlement to social safeguards by law as well as the affordability of complaint mechanisms) and the full consultation of civil society in drawing up the implementation strategy.

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