Sustainable and Social Europe within reach – messages to the EU conference on Sustainable Europe 2030

On 8 April, Social Platform participated in the European Political Strategy Centre’s high-level conference ‘Sustainable Europe 2030: From Goals to Delivery’.

Guided by the theme of leaving no one behind, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) present the European Union with a unique opportunity to improve the social situation of all people in the EU, and particularly the 112 million plus people who are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The high-level conference brought together decision- and policy-makers, academics, social partners, civil society representatives and other leading experts to discuss how to translate effectively the SGDs at European level. Key speakers included United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres who delivered a video message, and European Commissioners Frans Timmermans, Jyrki Katainen and Marianne Thyssen.

Social Platform is one of the leading civil society voices on the SDGs through its membership of the European Commission’s high-level multi stakeholder platform. The culmination of the platform’s work was the production of a roadmap on implementation of the SDGs, thrashed out over months between representatives of business, farmers, trade unions, academia, civil society and regional governments. The roadmap was presented to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans by Jana Hainsworth (former Social Platform President and current Eurochild Secretary-General) in October 2018. The contribution of the high-level group stresses the need for an overarching Sustainable Europe 2030 strategy. It sets out clear recommendations across the fields of social inclusion, sustainable consumption and production, climate and energy, food, farming and land use, and cohesion. It also suggests ways to strengthen governance tools, financing and accountability.

Speaking on behalf of Social Platform during the panel on ‘Next Steps: Europe’s Missions for the Future’, Jana Hainsworth called for urgent change, saying, “We need a paradigm change and governance reform to ensure a bottom-up and co-creation approach, to fully include civil society organisations who work on the ground and with people in decision-making processes.”

Social Platform makes the following five recommendations for an EU that creates a truly inclusive, sustainable and social Europe for all:

  1. The European Pillar of Social Rights offers an opportunity to deliver a fairer, more inclusive Europe, within the overarching framework of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
  2. The political and economic stability of the EU depends on the extent to which people on the margins of society can fully participate in political and economic life. Public policies need to ensure that power and wealth are more equally distributed throughout society.
  3. More needs to be done to tackle poverty and social exclusion, including that experienced by the most marginalised groups such as Roma and migrants – both legally resident and undocumented.
  4. Change is possible and within reach! Thousands of initiatives at grassroots level demonstrate the power of participatory decision-making, co-production and social enterprise.
  5. A vibrant, strong civil society helps to ensure transparency and accountability in public decision-making and to promote the common good. The EU must uphold its commitment to civil dialogue as a key pillar of democratic society on which the EU is built.

See a visual of our key messages here.