SOLIDAR joins civil society calls on public finance and taxation and on sustainable resource management

Ahead of two important events in Brussels, the World Circular Economy Forum 2024 on 15-18 April and the European Council on 17-18 April, SOLIDAR has signed two letters from civil society with a strong focus on just transition. 

Public investment at the heart of the European Council’s Strategic Agenda

At the special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 17-18 April, EU leaders will continue discussions on the Council’s Strategic Agenda 2024-2029, the EU’s key political agreement that sets the EU’s future priorities and influences the EU’s policy direction and level of ambition for the next five years. The current negotiations between EU leaders have resulted in a pretty poor list of Council priorities for 2024-29, focusing only on foreign affairs, defence, industry, agriculture, competitiveness and migration, with almost no mention of social and climate issues. 

Ahead of this meeting, SOLIDAR joined a group of 65 academics, civil society organisations and trade unions from different sectors and disciplines who signed a letter on public finance and taxation. The letter, led by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Finance Watch, Social Platform, Greentervention, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), European Environmental Bureau and New Economics Foundation, was sent to Council President Charles Michel and Heads of State. 

The letter draws attention to the political agreement on fiscal rules to be voted on by the European Parliament on 23 April and by the Council and urges rejection of unnecessary fiscal consolidation. It points to the growing protests against the unequal distributional effects of climate action, where the burden falls disproportionately on ordinary people, while the extremely rich do not contribute their fair share. A fair and just transition requires governments to help low-income households access energy-efficient homes, renewable energy or low-carbon mobility. Electric car-sharing schemes and public transport must be affordable and accessible to all, and energy networks must be modernised, requiring massive investment in shared infrastructure. 

In the letter, the signatories call on Heads of State and Government to ensure that the following policies are at the heart of the EU’s next strategic agenda: 

  • Design an economic governance fit for the challenges of the next decade.   
  • Establish a long-term green and social investment fund for the post-2026 period. 
  • Adopt progressive taxation, for example on extreme wealth, excessive fossil fuel profits, financial transactions and frequent flying. 
  • Ensure that public subsidies to businesses are targeted to promote the most sustainable forms of production and include clear social and environmental conditions. 
  • Prioritise public investment in collectively organised public services (e.g. public transport, universal public health systems, education, care and housing) to improve wellbeing and help reduce carbon, energy and material use. 

You can read the full letter and download the pdf below.

An EU Directive on sustainable resource management   

During the 2024 edition of the annual World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF), one of the world’s most influential circular economy events, to be held in Brussels from 15-18 April 2024, more than 100 NGOs, academics, think tanks, trade unions and industry will launch an open letter for EU legislation on sustainable resource management. The letter, addressed to European and national decision-makers, was initiated by Climate Action Network Europe, Environmental Coalition on Standards: ECOS, Zero Waste Europe, Seas At Risk, European Youth Forum, Friends of the Earth Europe, RREUSE, European Environmental Bureau and Association négaWatt. 

The EU uses between 70% and 97% of the ‘safe operating space’ available to the world as a whole in terms of the impacts of resource use, and there is a critical gap in European legislation on resource use. This underlines the need for the EU to align with planetary boundaries and reduce its outsized impacts on the environment and people, and in particular for a new law with science-based and binding resource reduction targets. 

In the letter, signatories call for an EU Directive on the sustainable management of resources, setting ambitious binding targets for the reduction of the EU’s material footprint and guiding the EU and its Member States to develop implementation strategies and sectoral roadmaps. To respect people’s rights and ensure social justice, the Directive will push for the redistribution of resources and the redressal of inequality in Europe through measures such as redistributive taxes and social programmes. Additionally, it needs to include a commitment to global engagement, aligning with the UN International Resources Panel towards a Global Resource Treaty to create a pathway towards equitable use of resources globally. 

You can read the full letter at this link or in the pdf below.

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