A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Posted on September, 12 2016

This common statement was spearheaded by WWF, ETUC, CONCORD and the European Youth Forum, and signed by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions, ahead of the EU27 Summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016.

Common statement signed by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions, ahead of the EU27 Summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016.

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperty for all 

Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the kind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people? 

Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations. 
Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need? 
Reject populist solutions 
This crisis in confidence comes as people struggle with decreasing living standards, declining buying power and the rise of precarious work, hardship created by austerity policies, anxiety over movements of people to our shores, and the impacts of climate change and environmental destruction. As people search for answers, euroscepticism and nationalism, intolerance and misinformation are winning out over cooperation, humanity and solidarity with one other. We must all – leaders, media and individuals – actively and at every opportunity speak out and act against division, marginalisation of different groups in society and those that play on fears for their own political ends. 

Tackle challenges together 
Many of the challenges facing Europe – such as inequalities, climate change, natural resource depletion, and a global economy that benefits the few and not the many – are better tackled together than by countries individually. 
The European Union, which embodies international cooperation and collaboration, needs to be leading in ensuring sustainable and inclusive development, advancing human rights, and allowing for dignified movements of people, where refugees are welcome and all people feel safe. 

Fight for a sustainable, social Europe for people and for our planet 
There needs to be a decisive and transformational change in political will, direction and policy. Such a vision is provided in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in which people, social justice, environmental and health protection, democracy and transparency take centre stage. Guided by this agenda, EU economic policies need to go hand in hand with strong social and environmental policies. The EU single market and international policies must promote enforceable rules to protect workers, consumers, all citizens – men and women, young and old – and the planet. EU policies must support democracy, dialogue and more equality within and beyond the EU. We need a Europe that aims at improving the living standards of everyone. 
Work for better Europe, not less Europe 
The current tendency to weaken EU institutions and to strip away protections for people and planet in the name of ‘deregulation’ is not the answer. Current economic policies of reducing deficits and boosting ‘competitiveness’ have promoted too narrow an interpretation of growth, and corporate profits have failed to make it into workers’ wages or trickle down to improve people’s lives. 

It is these policies, not ‘too much Europe’, that have alienated people, leaving them feeling disempowered and left behind. We now need new, progressive European initiatives to deliver tangible benefits for people and to win back their confidence and trust. A ‘better Europe’ is where joint European action creates tangible benefits for people and planet. This includes a new focus on equality and inclusion, a relaunch of the European social model to provide decent work, quality jobs and better living conditions, strong environmental protection, meaningful action on climate change, and an EU -wide effort to welcome and integrate migrants. 
Listen and engage 
EU leaders, prime ministers, presidents, chancellors and parliamentarians must listen and engage actively with citizens of all ages and social backgrounds to understand and respond better to people’s concerns and propose a new, positive vision of Europe. Everyone, perhaps most importantly the young, needs to be more actively involved in decisions that have an impact on our future. Together, we can take the decisions and actions on the issues that matter. 
Make the case for Europe 
We need a genuine, democratic and inclusive dialogue on the future of Europe, and on how the EU can deliver tangible benefits for Europeans. We stand ready to play an active role in this dialogue, and to work even harder in making the case for the benefits that working together have brought to European citizens, and the values for which this Union stands.

This common statement was drafted on the initiative of WWF, CONCORD, ETUC and European Youth Forum, and supported by the 177 signatories below. 

European and International signatories 
ACT Alliance EU 
ActionAid International 
Africa e Mediterraneo 
AGE Platform Europe 
ANME - Association for Natural Medicine in Europe 
BirdLife Europe 
CARE International 
Civil Society Europe 
Climate Action Network Europe 
COFACE Families Europe 
Culture Action Europe 
Don Bosco International 
Don Bosco Youth Network West Africa 
Dynamo International - Réseau International des 
Travailleurs sociaux de rue 
ENAR - European Network Against Racism 
ENNA - European Network of National Civil 
Society Associations 
ENSIE - European Network of Social Integration 
ERGO Network 
Eurocadres – Council of European Professional 
and Manageral Staff 
European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) 
European Central Council of Homeopaths 
European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) 
European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) 
European Disability Forum 
European Environmental Bureau 
European Federation of Building and Woodworkers 
European Federation of Public Service Unions 
European Humanist Federation 
European Institute Foundation 
European Institute of Women’s Health 
European Medical Students' Association 
European Movement International 
European Network for Smoking and Tobacco 
Prevention (ENSP) 
European Parents' Association 
European Public Health Alliance 
European Race and Imagery Foundation (ERIF) 
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
European Transport Safety Council 
European Transport Workers' Federation 
European Volunteer Centre (CEV) 
European Women's Lobby 
European Youth Forum 
Fair Trade Advocacy Office 
Fédération Européenne des Femmes Actives en Famille 
FEMS - European Federation Salaried Doctors 
Friends of the Earth Europe 
Fundación Jóvenes y Desarrollo 
HEAL - Health and Environment Alliance 
Housing Europe 
IBFAN Africa 
IBFAN Europe 
ICSW - International Council on Social Welfare 
IFSW-Europe - International Federation of Social Workers Europe 
ILGA-Europe - European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association 
International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) 
International Disability and Development 
Consortium (IDDC) 
International Federation of Medical Students' 
Associations (IFMSA) 
International Planned Parenthood Federation 
European Network 
International Union of Tenants (IUT) 
Light for the World International 
Mental Health Europe 
Migrant Tales 
Misiones Salesianas 
Naturefriends International 
Network of European LGBTIQ* Families 
Associations (NELFA) 
Oxfam International 
PICUM - Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants 
Plan International 
Social Platform 
SOS Children's Villages International 
The Club of Rome EU-Chapter 
The European Federation of Older Persons - 
The Oslo Times 
The Salvation Army EU Affairs Office 
Transport & Environment 
UNI Europa 
World Vision 
YES Forum 
National and regional signatories 
ACT Grupa 
Active Retirement Ireland 
AEPADO - European Association for the Defense 
of Human Rights 
Alaturi de Voi Romania Foundation 
Albanian Society for All Ages (ASAG) 
All Ears TM 
arbeit plus - Social Integration Enterprises Austria 
Artenave Atelier - Associação de Solidariedade 
Asociación Nacional Presencia Gitana 
ATDAL Over40 
Ateliere Fara Frontiere 
Atelierul de panza SRL 
Ateljee vzw 
Baby Milk Action/IBFAN UK 
BirdLife Finland 
BirdWatch Ireland 
Bulgarian Red Cross 
CEIPES Belgium 
Centar za životnu sredinu/FoE Bosnia and 
Center for Equality Advancement 
Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb 
CHEN, patient fertiltiy association, Israel 
Conference of Religious of Ireland and Irish 
Missionary Union 
Conseil de la Jeunesse 
Consorzio di cooperative sociali EVT 
Consorzio Sociale Abele Lavoro 
Coordination SUD 
Cultúr Migrants Centre 
Czech Society for Ornithology 
De Omslag 
ENEA apa 
Estonian Green Movement 
Estonian Human Rights Centre 
FAEDEI - Federación de Asociaciones 
Empresariales de Empresas de Inserción 
FATEC (Federació d'Associacions de Gent Gran de 
Federació d'Organitzacions Catalanes de Gent 
Gran, Dones i Família - FOCAGG 
Fédération des entreprises d'insertion 
Filipino Women's Council 
FONSS – Federatia Organizatiilor 
Neguvernamentale pentru Servicii Sociale din 
France Nature Environnement 
Friends of the Earth Cyprus 
Friends of the Earth Finland - Maan ystävät ry 
Fundació Trinijove 
Generation 2.0 Rights, Equality & Diversity 
Generation Earth 
Hellenic Ornithological Society 
Initiative for Development and Cooperation 
Inter Environnement Wallonie 
KISA - Action for Equality, Support, Anti-Racism 
Latvian Ornithological Society 
Liga para a Protecção da Natureza 
Lipu BirdLife Italy 
Mayo Intercultural Action 
NABU - Nature and Biodiversity Conservation 
Union (German partner of Birdlife International) 
National Youth Council of Ireland 
Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities 
Polish Society for the Protection of Birds 
QED Foundation 
RESIT - Rede de Empresas Sociais de Inserção 
pelo Trabalho 
Roma Community Centre Vilnius 
Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control 
Social Firms England 
SOF – BirdLife Sverige 
SOS/BirdLife Slovakia 
Sport Against Racism Ireland 
SST vzw 
Stichting Laka 
Tallinn Children's Hospital Foundation 
The Integraiton and Support Unit 
türkiye emekliler derneği 
BirdLife The Netherlands 
volare a s.stefano 
WERVEL - Working Group for a Fair and Responsible Agriculture 
Youth for Human Rights Denmark 
Združenie Slatinka 
© Pixabay
A Europe that benefits people and planet
© Tomas Hulik / WWF