A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - 11:33

Common statement by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions

 

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

ADG

Africa e Mediterraneo

AGE Platform Europe

ANME - Association for Natural Medicine in Europe

BirdLife Europe

BLOOM ASSOCIATION

CARE International

For media inquiries:

Angelika Pullen, WWF European Policy Office, apullen@wwf.eu, +32 473 947 966

Helene Debaisieux, CONCORD, helene.debaisieux@concordeurope.org, +32 2 743 87 93

Sarah Farndale, European Youth Forum, sarah.farndale@youthforum.org, +32 496 396 765

Julian Scola, European Trade Union Confederation, jscola@etuc.org, +32 2 224 04 30

Civil Society Europe

Climate Action Network Europe

COFACE Families Europe

CONCORD

Culture Action Europe

Don Bosco International

Don Bosco Youth Network West Africa

Dynamo International - Réseau International des Travailleurs sociaux de rue

EASPD

EFFAT

ENAR - European Network Against Racism

ENNA - European Network of National Civil Society Associations

ENSIE - European Network of Social Integration Enterprises

ERGO Network

Eurocadres – Council of European Professional and Manageral Staff

Eurochild

Eurodiaconia

EuroHealthNet

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

European Transport Safety Council

European Transport Workers' Federation

European Volunteer Centre (CEV)

European Women's Lobby

European Youth Forum

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

FEANTSA

Fédération Européenne des Femmes Actives en Famille

FEMS - European Federation Salaried Doctors

Friends of the Earth Europe

Fundación Jóvenes y Desarrollo

Greenpeace

HEAL - Health and Environment Alliance

Housing Europe

IBFAN Africa

IBFAN Europe

IBFAN LATIN AMÉRICA AND CARIBBEAN

ICSW - International Council on Social Welfare

IFSW-Europe - International Federation of Social Workers Europe

IGLYO

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

SOLIDAR

SOS Children's Villages International

The Club of Rome EU-Chapter

The European Federation of Older Persons - EURAG

The Oslo Times

The Salvation Army EU Affairs Office

Transport & Environment

UNI Europa

Volonteurope

World Vision

WWF

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

ASPUR

ATDAL Over40

Ateliere Fara Frontiere

Atelierul de panza SRL

Ateljee vzw

Baby Milk Action/IBFAN UK

BAGSO

BirdLife Finland

BirdWatch Ireland

Bulgarian Red Cross

CEIPES Belgium

Centar za životnu sredinu/FoE Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

CRIES

Cultúr Migrants Centre

Czech Society for Ornithology

De Omslag

EcoPolítica

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 Catalunya)

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 Romania

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

JURATRI

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

natur&emwelt

Natuurpunt

Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities

Old'up

OVN -NL

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