State of the Union: ‘Wind in our sails’ must steer Europe towards greater sustainability and climate action | WWF

State of the Union: ‘Wind in our sails’ must steer Europe towards greater sustainability and climate action

Posted on 13 September 2017
Sail boats in the Baltic Sea
© Juhani Väihkönen/WWF Finland
In his State of the Union address delivered to the European Parliament today, President Juncker pushed for a more democratic Europe, highlighted the importance of social standards and paid lip-service to climate action. However, he failed to recognise the urgent need for the European Union to rebuild itself on the basis of what matters most to European citizens: the wellbeing of its people, and the health of its environment.

“The wind is indeed back in our sails and President Juncker made a welcome push for a more democratic Europe today. However, he missed the opportunity to reset our Union on a path to a genuine sustainable future. He sidelined key European values by failing to properly address the urgent need for greater environmental protection, and by avoiding any mention of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda,” said Geneviève Pons, Director of WWF European Policy Office.

“We are concerned about President Juncker’s apparent reluctance to tackle some of the most pressing and interlinked challenges facing Europe and the world today, such as climate change and environmental degradation. President Juncker should take his responsibility seriously and redefine Europe’s global leadership role on climate action, while driving forward the energy transition domestically.”

“Poll after poll confirms that climate change and the environment remain the top global concerns for Europeans and especially young people, most recently in the ‘Global Shapers Survey’ published by the World Economic Forum. These findings need to be taken seriously if we are to inspire a new generation of citizens to continue collaborating at a European level and guarantee a sustainable future for Europe,” she concluded.

At the end of June, more than 250 non-governmental organisations from across Europe released their vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe, as an alternative to the five scenarios proposed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in March 2017.