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A sustainable action strategy

These are testing times for progressive Europeans. Moving Europe forward requires a programmatic revitalisation of Social Democracy. Sustainability should play a crucial part. This means we have to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030. This move has to come from the bottom up, driven by cities and regions to ensure a high quality of life everywhere in Europe. A consistent long-term strategy (rather than short-term tactics) must be devised and it should, in my opinion, include the following: 1.) Clear measures to battle social, economic and territorial inequalities, specifically providing the most vulnerable people with opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty and social exclusion. 2.) Empower local and regional communities to achieve our strategy. Local and regional governments should be given more leeway in funding and decision-making, supported in a coordinated effort by national and European authorities. We must give the people on the ground the chance to participate in the debate and be the driving force of this social and ecological transformation. 3.) An energetic transition shifting to renewable energy sources, away from fossil and nuclear power. This must include a comprehensive jobs program in the clean energy sector, with significant investment in the building of energy infrastructure, training and social protection measures for those who are affected the most by this transition. 4.) Promote low-emission mobility by extending and improving the functionality and sustainability of affordable public transport solutions in urban and rural areas. Again, this demands investment in infrastructure like bike lanes, low-emission buses, train lines and charging stations for electrical vehicles. 5.) Build a circular economy and help build a new corporate responsibility culture. Large-scale waste reduction is both economically and ecologically viable. We must strive to build a business culture that encourages the re-use of goods and renounces single-use production patterns. Only if production patterns (such as plastic packaging) become more eco-friendly, consumption patterns can follow suit. State of the art eco-efficient recycling and waste management facilities should become the standard of European cities and municipalities, creating jobs and saving natural resources. Social Democracy has recently struggled on the European and national level. In the cities, however, we are alive and kicking. Cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Milan and Vienna are great examples for that. Let’s trust our people on the ground and help them achieve tangible results. Let’s build a truly progressive Europe from the bottom up. Then, I’m sure, European Social Democracy will pass this test of time!
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The climate change, indisputably, consist one of the greatest challenges for the humanity for the years onward. However, besides the undesirable effects of the climate change, firstly to the environment and after to the well-being of the people, it is important to mention also the societal effects of this phenomenon. Nowadays, the near-term effects of climate change could have severe consequences on poor countries and already fragile regions around the world with weak governance structures and thereby to worsen the regional and local tensions in ‘hot-zones’. Specifically, the climate change could lead to multiple problems of instability like water scarcity, food shortages, conflict over resources and migration. Therefore, the ”weak” states that gonna experience these problems, could risk to transfer the increased regional tensions to Europe, that might be seem as a ”safe heaven” for these affected people. So, the EU should respond quickly to this security problem given its leading role in development and protection of the environment with the wide range of tools that has in its disposal. First, the EU should have prepare its necessary functions for the preparedness and prevention of disasters or conflict that may arise worldwide and that could affect its member states. Second, the active role of EU as a negotiator for a better and prosperous future is vital and must be continue. Therefore, the EU must promote its multilateral leadership for the enhance of the international cooperation around this serious issue through all the important forums (UN, G7 etc). The EU, as an international regulator by framing and providing the necessary support, could create the right conditions in order to solve the problems. Third, through its instruments the EU should strengthen its dialogue with third countries that belong to the most affected by the climate change and seek for solutions in order to the pretend the tensions and lead to directly answers to their problems. The EU must, indeed, put the people at the center of its policy and increase the resources that can change their quality of life and economy in general. To conclude, the EU aware for the future and driven by its interest for better conditions of human rights and development should take the lead for the protection of environment that could stop these global security issues.

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