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Cities are, right now, part of the problem in adressing climate change. Cities consume 2/3 of the world’s energy and are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions. In order to build a sustainable future, cities need to become part of the solution. There is so much that needs to be done, we need to increase the use of renewable energy(wind, solar etc), upgrade the energy efficiency in buildings, transit to electric vehicles with lithium-air batteries, support community farms(intensive farming has a negative impact in global warming). Cities need to do this but they can’t do it alone; these changes are necessary but expensive. And this is where the European Union is important. The EU has the dimension, funds and power to push for this transition by creating a Green New Deal. A Green New Deal would build a sustainable and more green future in Europe but also solve the problems of chronical unemployment. With all the problems that unfair trade policies create to Blue-Collar Working class; green collar jobs are the alternative ! They can’t be shipped overseas and many of them can’t be replaced by technology in the near future. We will need green building architects, solar energy engineers, eletricians who install solar panels, worker’s that insulate older buildings and many other jobs of low, medium and high skill that need to be here in Europe! I’m optimistic about these changes, after all, cities are the magnet for innovation, entrepeneurship and development and the combination in a partnership with businesses and the European Union we will build a more susteinable future.

1 week, 3 days ago in Sustainable Future
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The Antwerp Statement is a very important step forward in recognising the essential role of cities in paving the way for a sustainable future in Europe. Despite the statement accurately includes ports as vectors for such model of development, I find that the full potential for cities to play a key role in developing nature-based solutions to climate change is unexploited. I would add a paragraph on the importance of cities in developing adaptation plans to cope with climate change impacts and be at the forefront of the new Europe that protects. Climate risk affects people in Europe unevenly, both in geographic and economic terms. Central, Eastern and Southern European Member States are more vulnerable to climate-related disasters. On the other hand, those sectors of society with less resources available (such as low-income households, young farmers or SMEs) are also more vulnerable to potential economic losses. As climate-related disasters become more frequent and more severe, insurance to protect assets and properties become less affordable for these sectors. Using urban planning and transformation to develop nature-based solutions to climate impacts is a key element of this attempt to protect those vulnerable groups and minimise geographic and socioeconomic inequalities. Cities would therefore need better, simpler and more transparent access to EU funds in order to develop capacity to draft adaptation and resilience plans, complemented with capital-raising plans to fund those reforms needed. Such plans would inform EU Member States at the time of developing national plans and build a bottom-up, resilient Europe that protects its citizens.

1 week, 6 days ago in Sustainable Future
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We can progress with change, and only if we change our minds we can make a Social Europe. However, we can do that only if we are able to answer the how question. The Gothenburg Statement on Social Europe has answered to the what and the why questions, but we still need to answer to the most important one: How? How do we do a Social Europe? So far as a group we have not been able to speak and listen to ordinary people. The plan is great! But the structure is not easy to be understood in the whole EU. As Max Weber said: “Politics is made with the head, not with other parts of the body or soul”… but on the Brussels leg of Europe Together, on 19 October, the Mayor of Charleroi, Mr Paul Magnette said: “We [socialists and democrats] lost the elections but we have a soul.” Soul is not enough as Weber teaches us. We need a strong and smart head. We need to be able to talk to those in difficulties, to those that are not able to understand the complexities of the European Institutions and its policy making procedures. Therefore, we should question ourselves: Are we able to give voice to the voiceless? Those of us that participate in these events are lucky enough to have opportunities, but are we able to speak to unemployed people that struggle everyday for a piece of bread and to feed their children? Are we able to guarantee that the future of Europe is with a stronger European Union? If we show the way forward, if we explain how to achieve a Social Europe, then we will able to face the far-right populism, unfortunately in the rise in the whole EU. We need to go in the field, we need to be with the people, we need to ask them about their daily struggles and problems. We need to address the challenges of ordinary European citizens. This is the way forward for a Social Europe!

2 weeks, 1 day ago in Social Europe
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Social Europe would mean to achieve an common behavior and goal setting for all European citizens and future citizens. Which still means that we need to highlight and retain every countries individualistic charisma. It is very important to maintain this line between each countries own politics and European politics. It is healthy to keep an direct political decisions between the citizens and its own country in first place. Gradually in order to keep up with this pace of globalization we have to increase the Eu-politics direct affection and other influences. By working together and bringing up these big guidelines for countries and their municipalities, and most importantly guidelines that works in rural areas an not only the capitals and other big cities. Rather having personal growth as a goal rather than a growing wallet. Social Europe means to include everyone, and mostly to focus on those who are in need, and to bring up countries that really needs everyone’s collaboration in order to survive, without leaving successful areas unheard. It is all about finding the balance between benefits, greed, solidarity and generosity. Social Europe means putting together a big force and stand against China, USA and Russia mostly. Not to fight, or negotiate at our own benefits, but to show them how we want to live on this earth, in peace, as we teach our children. Social Europe is about representation. We should work close to media and to not let it be owed by the elite, people should have the right to hear the truth, and we have to work actively against any kind of corruption from the top of the hierarchy. It should be about representation inside of every governing body in our nations. It is about free trade and the expansion of Schengen areas in Europe. We should aim to make every country in Europe attractive and affordable to our citizens, it should not be a class question if you have the opportinuty to free education nor healthcare, we have to achieve this as an human right. Because right now, we are loosing so much creativity and possibilities as human beings living on this earth, the lack of free education and healthcare for example is a big treath and should be a priority in Europe. Social Europe should be more about the interests of the majority and not the minority. I am talking about the elite, creating this twenty four hour consumption society, setting our standards as workers, making us suffer. Making us consume as if we had unlimited resources, as if the ozone-layer do not need our support, as if our beautiful seas need more plastic in it, as if we lived in a planet we do not care about. Sustainable energy is definitely my field, and let me keep this short. To make Europe function in a way more sustainable way is close, and the truth is, we have all of the technology and knowledge that is needed. But we are not working active enough and I will not be the one telling our polar bear-fellows that their land are melting away in our greed and egoism. We have to put pressure on these big companies and manufacturers, who produces all of these plastic bags, pet-bottles, cars, foods, clothes and everything we can touch, eat or use. This is not an okay behavior, and EU need to take the power to at least ban these products that we use everyday, that is killing our ozone and our bodies and to control what we eat. Stop making it beneficial for the elite to go around these circumstances, this earth is as much as mine as theirs, and we should protect what we value as human beings in this earth. Honestly, if you want to know the truth I am tired of these discussions back and forth, issues regarding poverty, segregation, gender equality, unemployment, prostitution and sextrades, healthcare, education, war and so on.. Most of it comes down to behaviors, and how to change these standard and traditional way of thinking and acting, and to allow the modern reality to kick in. As my friend said: “Politicians are talking about integration, reduction of unemployment and criminality. But are shadowing the facts that segregation is a product of racism, and the ignorance of structurally building these apartments so tall, that it looks like they will fall down from the sky anytime. Putting people of color in all different kind of cages and expecting them to apply for jobs, where the employer only reads your foreign name on the application and then skips it. And now we are putting the demands on these same citizens, and also asking why hatred and racist parties have been growing?” And then you all ask why it is a big amount if people who are not voting in the EU-elections and national election in our own countries. You do not care enough for “everyday people”. Even myself, and those who represent justice and equality, have not enough experience of it, we are mostly wealthier people compared to the average, with mostly privileged backgrounds. Meaning, a lot of people are unheard. And we can not represent their voices without giving them the ability to speak. I can go on all day, but to keep it short. Europe should not be afraid of change or the youth, let the innovative minds create magic. We need to change our behavior and to not hide our real problems under our own feet. We have big challenges in Europe and we need to face them, then aim for bigger projects. And to set standards for the other continents to get inspired and eventually collaborate as a big force for once. Patience is not only the key, we have to know how to solve these issues in order to open the borders with the key. I hope my message was reached. I would love to come and discuss more about my concerns! Sincerely, A 20-year young but old firefighter named Kimiya Espahbodi, from Stockholm Sweden.

2 weeks, 1 day ago in Social Europe
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In the winter of 431 BC, Pericles in Ancient Athens, gave a funeral oration to honor Athenians who fought with their lives against Sparta. This act was nothing more than a tribute to people who fought for the prevalence of a democracy, the world’s oldest one, and a progressive social system, as opposed to authoritarian Sparta. Today, different fights for more progressive systems have come back to the foreground as social rights – especially the welfare state – are confined inside economies that are struggling more anfd more for competitiveness. For me, personally, the top issues of a Social Europe are: – Labor relations – in particular, the unpaid internships for young people – is something that gives a breath to business but it shows to young people a union that does not reflect the values ​​of solidarity. The recent campaign of S&D was the beginning, but much more regarding a coordinated policy action is needed. In the end, it is the best fight against populism by protecting the workers’ rights. – Τhe deterioration of the welfare state in the countries most affected by the crisis. Progressive Europe can not respond with coupons and programs for the unemployed people. There is a serious need for a solid social protection framework and at the same time more attention should be given to Europe’s working poor. – Youth issues, equal and quality of information and mobility opportunities often do not help to reduce gaps but end up as free opportunities without any quality results. If we want to invest in a united Europe, we must produce this idea among all young people. In conclusion, I sincerely believe that social democracy is the key to deepening democracy in Europe. But this has to be done within a dynamic framework that will allow especially bottom-up initiatives and will create a positive result of a common European identity, especially within small societies.

2 weeks, 2 days ago in Social Europe
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