Following the European elections, the European institutions will have to set a credible roadmap on how the EU will tackle the most pressing challenges across the continent, starting from fighting the climate crisis, erasing inequality, reinforcing solidarity and achieving sustainable development.
For progressive cities and regions, the fights against the climate crisis and raising inequalities are strongly interconnected and need to be addressed simultaneously if we want to build a European Union that leaves no people and no places behind.
The main political agenda to save our people and our planet is set by the United Nationʼs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which the PES Group believes should become the cornerstone of Europeʼs efforts to make sustainable equality a reality.
Cities and regions are not only responsible for the achievement of 65% of the 17 SDGs; they are also pioneers in making the SDGs a reality by finding local solutions in response to the challenges. Progressive cities and regions have been particularly active in building a sustainable Europe from the ground up, by putting in place measures to end poverty, take climate action and build sustainable communities.
Based on these ideas, the PES Group is decisively contributing to setting out the vision of the European Committee of the Regions on a roadmap for the future of Europe and to creating a strategy for a sustainable Europe by 2030 (just adopted by the plenary of the institution).
“The European citizens have spoken, casting their ballot in the European elections. Now the European Union's institutions need to get together and provide clear answers to these concerns. Addressing the climate crisis and social inequality must go hand in hand and be the priority of the new EU leadershipʼs agenda. Progressive cities and regions have been pioneers in localising the Sustainable Development Goals but they need the EUʼs support to be able to end poverty, take climate action and build sustainable communities. For us, cohesion policy needs to become the main investment tool to achieve the SDGs and to build a sustainable Europe that makes sure that no people and no territories are left behind”, said PES Group acting President, Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines (France).
Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim, who will host in 2020 under the German EU Presidency a major conference on the SDGs, added “Migration, climate change, mobility, security, radicalization, coexistence in diversity - answers to all these questions are being sought in cities. It is in cities that the decision is made whether the sustainability goals are achieved, whether the transformation of our lives and of the economies is socially accepted and succeeds. Cities therefore need the freedom to experiment and the support of the EU. The UN, the EU and the Member States must act as key actors in the implementation of European or global goals and fulfill their national commitments”.
"It is in cites that the decision is made whether the sustainability goals are achieved, whether the transformation of our lives and of the economies is socially accepted and succeeds.
— PES Group Committee of the Regions (@PES_CoR) June 26, 2019
The main points of the proposals of the European Committee of the Regions for the future of Europe are:
- strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the European Union to ensure that nobody is left behind;
- creating a permanent mechanism for citizen dialogues to strengthen the democratic foundations of the EU;
- setting up an agenda for social housing and delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights to reinforce the social dimension of the EU;
- promoting quality jobs and equal opportunities for young people by also creating a European Child Guarantee to make sure that every child in Europe has access to free healthcare, free education, adequate nutrition and decent housing;
- achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest and eradicating energy poverty;
- creating a Common Asylum System based on the respect of fundamental rights and investing in the successful integration of migrants and refugees.
On the SDGs Agenda, the PES Group called for:
- recognising the key role of cities and regions to achieve the SDGs;
- making sure that the next EU cohesion policy 2021-2027 supports the implementation of the SDGs, helping cities and regions to achieve these important targets;
- mainstreaming the SDGs in all EU relevant policies, like the government of Pedro Sánchez in Spain as already successfully started to do.