Looking ahead: Sustainable development and the social dimension
Today, our economic system disregards the planet and human health, and creates social inequalities. Therefore, our economy must radically change. Socialists and Democrats place this radical change of our economic system at the heart of their political engagement.
A cleaner environment, healthier food or quality jobs cannot become a privilege for those who can afford it. There can be no sustainable economy if it benefits some, while excluding others. Sustainability must become a central driver of new equality and cohesion across our societies and within them.
The future of the European Union itself will depend on its ability to embrace this radical change. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (UNSDG) and the commitments made under the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on climate change provide a policy framework to engage in this process. This is why we call for a thorough and visionary European sustainable development strategy for the years to come, based on innovation, transformative investments, strong social rights and convergence and the eradication of social and ecological dumping.
Therefore we will notably:
Promote and defend policies which enable the European Union to successfully decouple economic development from greenhouse gas emissions and to undergo a profound transition towards a more sustainable, zero-carbon economy based on renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. For the EU to remain within its carbon budget, plans for any additional coal-fired generating capacity must be shelved. All currently operating coal plants as well as nuclear power plants must go off grid by a fixed end date.
Plead for doubling the total available financial resources for investment in economic change over the coming years. Investment in human capital in particular should find more space in the EU investment strategy. A modern Cohesion Policy investment financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) has to aim at attainment of objectives of a ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive’ growth and have a key role in boosting the economy through investment at a local, regional and national level. A fully fledged European sustainable investment strategy building on the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), a strong European budget and stronger national public investments via a more flexible “investment clause” for sustainable investments in the Growth and Stability Pact, must collectively achieve this objective.
Continue our fight to protect our citizens from pollution and harmful chemicals while protecting the rich biodiversity of our countries. When dealing with our citizens’ health we will work hard to ensure that stricter rules are enforced to reduce exposure to air pollutants, especially for the most vulnerable groups of our society.
Stimulate the move towards a circular economy which re-uses materials and has positive effects on the path to a zero-carbon economy, both lowering the energy consumption of industry and creating new sustainable, qualified jobs in the industries reusing, recycling or up-valuing discarded products and resources.
Introduce clean urban transport toward sustainable mobility for all: reducing transport needs by the promotion of proximity and mixed-uses schemes, prioritising non-motorised ‘walkable’, ‘cyclable’ cities, supporting affordable and efficient public transport accessible for all-notably for deprived neighborhood., We need Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) quotas for car manufacturers with the aim of phasing out new CO2-emitting cars by 2035.
Support a stronger protection of labor and social rights in The European Pillar for Social Rights. Concrete measures to eradicate social dumping must be taken before the end of this term. Social security must be guaranteed for all Europeans, where ever they choose to work. The European Treaties should be upgraded with a Social Protocol to ensure that fundamental rights take precedence over economic freedoms.
Resist rising income and wealth inequalities which have no place in a sustainable Europe. A European sustainable development strategy must therefore encompass broad-ranging strategy to reduce inequalities in income and wealth within and among countries, and develop a European-wide initiative for the eradication of poverty by 2030.
Ensure the European Union invests in vocational training to organise a just transition offering new opportunities for workers in high carbon, resource-intensive jobs in the decarbonized, circular economy of the future.
Make all European citizens profit from the energy transition by eradicate energy poverty in Europe. Energy efficiency measures need to be targeted to energy poor and vulnerable households and citizens need to be able to better take control of their energy bills through improved energy consumers’ rights and information.”
Work towards an effective alignment of European Union development co-operation with the fight against climate change in order to build resilience and reduce the vulnerability of local populations, and improve their capacity to prevent and reduce the risks from disasters.
Call for a full and effective implementation of the European anti-discrimination directives in the workplace, including in public sector.
The time has come for higher expectations and ambitions, for common goals pursued together, for stronger political actions to address our common sustainable future. We, European Socialists and Democrats, are ready to take this challenge.
 To have a good chance of keeping global warming well below the 2°C, there is only a finite amount of carbon pollution the world still can emit. This fixed amount can be thought of as the carbon budget.