On January 30, the European Commission published a long-awaited reflection paper on sustainable development in the EU and beyond, developing three different scenarios for the way forward. Commenting on today’s debate on the paper in the European Parliament, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said:
“In the past few weeks and months we have witnessed thousands and thousands of citizens calling on European governments to radically change course: Young people take to the streets because they want us fight climate change and save the future of our planet. At the same time, social uprisings like the yellow vests in France manifest a deep-seated frustration with the status quo and its social injustices. These are expressions of a crisis, which is at the same time social, economic, ecological and political.
“To address this crisis we have to deal with all these dimensions at the same time. We cannot decarbonise the economy without making sure that clean energy is affordable. We cannot fight inequalities without a green economy that creates quality jobs. The Commission has clearly understood and articulated this in the first scenario of its reflection paper. In this scenario, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are the starting point of policy-making across all policy fields. Whatever we deal with, be it trade agreements, health legislation or working conditions – the SDGs have to be our compass.
“There is no time left for procrastination. To this end, governance in Europe should be reformed and be framed by a sustainable development pact with economic, social and environmental targets and indicators on an equal footing. This is the only way forward.”