EU Member States and the European Parliament are preparing their respective responses to the Commission’s Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future’. To make the best use of these timely opportunities, CONCORD has set out 10 recommendations for each of these actors, so they can rectify the lack of ambition the EU has displayed thus far in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

cartoon on sustainable Europe
Already on 12 May 2016, the European Parliament adopted a strong resolution on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Resolution called for the Commission to forward a proposal for an overarching Sustainable Development Strategy, encompassing all relevant internal and external policy areas, with a detailed timeline up to 2030, a specific procedure ensuring Parliament’s full involvement, and a concrete implementation plan. But in the Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future’ many of these calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
CONCORD, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development, regrets the lack of leadership and ambition and the total absence of any sense of urgency that the EU has displayed thus far in the 18 months since the adoption of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as regards its implementation. The Communication constitutes a first step, in which the Commission tried to map what it is already doing in contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda. But as business as usual cannot be our EU response to this transformative agenda, we are eagerly waiting to see which next steps the EU is planning to take and via which path it aims to lead us in the short, medium and longer term.
The upcoming Council conclusions and Parliament’s report EU action for sustainability, both responding to the Commission Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European futureoffer timely opportunities to rectify this by committing to concrete actions and calling again on the European Commission to play their part. The time has passed for empty promises and endless re-commitments to the concept of sustainable development. Now is the time to act. The European Union, given its privileged context and its historical responsibility for many of the challenges the world now faces, should not fail to lead by example.
CONCORD has therefore developed a set of 10 recommendations for the Council conclusions to strongly respond to the Communication ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future‘. Additionally, CONCORD also addresses 10 recommendations to the Parliament to respond to the Commission’s Communication and hold the latter to account on its international commitments and to follow-up on its resolution of May 2016.

The EU urgently needs the courage and conviction to take a great leap towards a sustainable future, following good practice by some of its Member States such as Finland. By adopting an ambitious overarching strategy for sustainable development and guiding European policies towards transformation, the EU and its Member States can make a real difference, for people in Europe and around the world.

Jussi Kanner

Co-chair of CONCORD' structure working on Sustainable Development

Both sets of recommendations can be found below: