The climate crisis and the rising of social inequalities pose serious challenges to Europeʼs future. A just transition towards a more sustainable Europe that leaves no people and no places behind is urgent and necessary.
Progressive cities (and young progressive leaders especially) have become new drivers of change, striving to find innovative solutions and concrete policies to fight the climate crisis.
Nonetheless, more still needs to be done. The European elections showed us how important the environmental and social issues are for citizens today. A comprehensive and inclusive plan at European level, a Green New Deal for Europe, is needed in order to involve all levels of government to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality.
Together with the Young European Socialists (YES) and the Party of European Socialists, the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions organised the first of its “Progressive Labs”, an initiative destined to bring together local and regional progressive authorities, civil society organisations and citizens. This would allow the fostering of best practices exchanges, the connection with a new generation of progressive leaders and the putting forward of new ideas to build a more sustainable Europe from the ground up. Sanchia Alasia, Member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, Councillor for Barking & Dagenham (United Kingdom), Brando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament (Italy), Jo Leinen, former Member of the European Parliament and of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions (Germany), Sara Tavares da Costa, Vice-President of the Young European Socialists (Austria), and Kata Tüttő, Member of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, Councillor from Budapest (Hungary), shared their experiences at local level and innovative ideas to tackle the climate crisis. Sanchia Alasia moderated.
The Progressive Lab was followed by a workshop organised by the Party of European Socialists on Thursday 1 August from 10:00 to 11:30, entitled “Just transition: from European ambition to local change”. Drawing from the conclusions of the Lab, the workshop aimed at developing a “Call to action” to discuss local challenges, develop new solutions and measures to achieve those solutions. Speakers included Evin Icir, Member of the European Parliament from Sweden, and Kata Tüttő, member of the PES Group and local councillor from Budapest. The moderator was Julian Muhs, Party of European Socialists Adviser.
These events took place at the Young European Socialists Summer Camp, in Bulgaria.
Photo credit: Unsplash / Markus Spiske
Sanchia Alasia is a Labour Councillor for Alibon Ward in Barking and Dagenham and a specialist in equality and diversity. Sanchia was one of the Labour Party candidates for the European elections in 2014 and 2019 in the London region. She also served as Mayor of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham from May 2018 to May 2019. She has been a member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2015.
Brando Benifei is an Italian politician who has served in the European Parliament since 2014. He was re-elected in 2019. During his first term from 2014 until 2019, Benifei served on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. In 2019, he moved to the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. In addition to his committee assignments, he is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda.
Kata Tüttő is an economist and a local councillor at Budapest district XII. She was one of the candidates of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) for the European elections in 2019. She has been a member of the European Committee of the Regions since 2007, working in the Commission for the Environment, Climate change and Energy. She has been rapporteur of the opinions on the “Future of the Covenant of Mayors”, “Waste to Energy in the Circular economy ” and “Energy poverty ”.
Vice-President of the Young European Socialists and former Secretary General of the Sozialistische Jugend Österreich (Young Socialists of Austria)
Jo Leinen is a German politician who served as Member of the European Parliament from 1999 until 2019. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). From 1985 until 1999, Leinen was a Member of the Landtag of Saarland. He served as State Minister of the Environment in the government of Minister-President Oskar Lafontaine between 1985 and 1994. From 1995, Leinen was also an alternate member of the European Committee of the Regions, where he was member of the PES Group. In 1999, he was also member of the municipal council of Püttlingen/Saar.