Building the Progressive Future Together

Your ideas matter! Tell us how do YOU see the progressive future of the EU.

Add your voice

The future of Europe is in our hands! It’s time to protect our people from crises, uncertainty and lies!

On 18-19 October we will be joined by the entire progressive family for an event that is aimed to shape the future of Europe. During these two days we plan to talk, but also to listen to what you have to say, to take into account your proposals so that together we can shape our progressive agenda for the upcoming years.

We’ve narrowed down all our priorities and initiatives into seven topics which need to be addressed in order to start making the European Union a better home for us all. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link of one of the seven topics below and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals.

Defending and strengthening democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Europe

Looking ahead: Sustainable development and the social dimension

Financial Solutions for a New Budget and a New Europe

Asylum and Migration: Solidarity and Real Solutions

A stronger European Union in a changing world

Does Africa still need Europe?

Putting social rights at the core of our Union

The debate goes on. We have selected our 7 Together Ambassadors for the Brussels event.
As always, your input is welcome, so we encourage you to continue the debate and follow our site for more events!

Register today

Debate



The European Union and Africa have an important and unique partnership, which is at a crossroads. The EU remains the main partner of Africa, but it is no longer the only one. So does Africa still need Europe? We continue to believe the deep, comprehensive and holistic relationship is a vital long-term foundation for political dialogue and progress in both continents.
Investing in young people. The demographic boom in Africa will be an opportunity for the continent rather than a challenge, if we support investment in education. The challenges of the future will only be met if we equip the next generations with the necessary tools, on which an “EU-Africa Erasmus program” can be of great impact, encouraging exchanges between European and African young students, researchers, teachers and entrepreneurs.
Sustainable investments. The S&D Group strongly supports the EU External Investment Plan for Africa (and European neighbourhood) with the aim of improving economic and social development and achieving the SDGs on the African continent. But rather than underpin multinationals which are already champions of tax evasion, or the ones which prey on mineral and natural resources, the EIP must provide support to SMEs, microfinance and job creation programs, especially for young people and women.
Coherent Partnerships for development to address the root causes of irregular migration. Irregular migration is a global phenomenon requiring a coordinated international response and the EU must take a human-rights-based lead in shaping it. We support a strong partnership between Europe and Africa and the efforts in the United Nations to tackle the root causes of migration in terms of improving the economic and social situation, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and providing education and employment opportunities in countries of transit and origin. We remain strongly committed to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, also by improving development cooperation, conflict resolution, and stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth to ensure that people have a real chance of a better life in their homeland. But we also need to ensure we implement Policy Coherence for Development across our agricultural, trade and investment policies, from the Common Agricultural Policy to binding due diligence requirements for EU companies. The security-development nexus remains important for addressing conflict, but poverty-alleviation must remain the primary goal of development assistance. We will never accept aid conditionality linked to migration policy.
Strengthen democracy and human rights. Human rights remain central to our partnership with Africa. We urge the EEAS and Commission to use all available tools to maintain serious human rights dialogues. We will seek innovative mechanisms to give support and visibility to those risking their lives in Africa for the defence of human rights, democracy, social justice, equality and non-discrimination. We reiterate our belief that independent NGOs, media and cultural space are a pre-requisite of a functioning democracy and rule of law.
Gender equality. Without the emancipation of women there is no viability for sustainable development, nor full democracy, nor good governance. Gender equality must be mainstreamed in all EU policies, initiatives and investments towards Africa.
“Does Africa need Europe?” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.

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1. The EU as a united and influential voice. At a time when the European project is being questioned and new challenges abound, from the violations of the European security order to terrorism and violence plaguing North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe itself, the EU has to become an ever more united and influential actor on the world stage to keep its citizens safe, preserve its interests and uphold its values;
2. Striving for strategic autonomy. This is necessary for the EU to promote its values, principles and interests. The most appropriate framework to achieving these is the rules-based global order and effective multilateralism. Foreign and security policies of the EU require deepening the trans-atlantic bond and sustainable dialogue with other key international actors;
3. Strengthening defence capacities. The EU is most effective in achieving its foreign and security policy goals when it combines soft and hard power. European defence should reflect the security concerns of all the EU Member States. It should be advanced by enhanced efficiency in Member States´ spending, through common capabilities development and enhanced civil-military synergies in the conduct of CSDP missions;
4 . Fostering effective approach to conflict resolution. The EU must engage in a practical and principled way in peacebuilding, concentrating its efforts on conflict resolution in surrounding unstable regions to the east and south. It must make a full use of tools and instruments available to it, including engagement with all players in a conflict, and, when appropriate, containment and deterrence. Supporting reform agendas pursued by partner countries within the European Neighbourhood Policy is essential for their stabilisation;
5. Promoting cooperative regional orders. As a model of such a regional order itself, the EU is best placed to promote the non-zero sum game approach to conflict resolution, including in the most divided regions. Particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, the capacity of the EU to engage with all players empowers it to promote new security architecture whereby the legitimate interests of all partners should be taken into account; the EU should further develop its capacity to contribute to the stabilisation and rebuilding of the countries in post-conflict situations.
6. Aligning EU trade policies with Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The EU should assume a leadership role to promote fair, regulated global trade in the interest of all people e.g. a legislative proposal on mandatory due diligence on global value chains in order to provide transparency and traceability, counter unfair trading practices and uphold labour and environmental rights;
7. Enforcing forceful measures to protect European industry against unfair trade practices. With this goal in mind, pressure must be put on the Council to modernise the Union’s trade defence system;
8. Dialogue-oriented processes with the involvement of the civil society at all levels of government. This is key to ensuring the participation of trade unions and the ILO in order to ensure labour and social standards are incorporated in the sustainability chapter;
9. Responding to the consumers’ concerns. It is necessary to reinforce corporate social responsibility initiatives and due diligence across supply chains, thus enhancing consumers’ confidence in the products they buy;
10. Closer collaboration with the ILO and OECD. The EU should pursue deep dialogue with these organisations with the aim of developing a global approach to improving social and labour standards in developing countries, including mechanisms to ensure full respect for fundamental rights and the protection of minorities.
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“A stronger European Union in a changing world” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.

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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[1], 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.

[1] 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.

“Sustainable development and the social dimension” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.

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Amidst growing Euroscepticism, we believe that fundamental rights and the rule of law are the main features of what makes the EU unique and are essential in order for citizens to identify with the Union. Indeed, the limitation of the powers of public officials by the law, the fact that laws are public, general and apply equally to all, and that they will be upheld by an independent, impartial and neutral judiciary are the DNA of our democratic contract with citizens.

A strong European Democracy. We stand for an EU that is more independent from national governments and directly empowered by European citizens, who make informed choices about their lives. S&D will cement the “Spitzenkandidaten” process, so that the citizens have a say on the political orientation and agenda of the President of the European Commission. We fight for the transparency, integrity and accountability of the decision making process, institutions, European parties and representatives of the EU citizens. We wish that the reform of the European Citizens Initiative will foster debate and participation at European level, including of young people.

Standing up for our “togetherness”. We are together in a community, the bedrock of which is the shared foundation of European values:  human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law.  We are therefore deeply concerned by recent developments in Hungary and Poland, which pose serious threats to fundamental rights. Our democracies must preserve constitutional checks and balances. We are sensitive, in particular, to the separation of powers and the key role of supreme courts and constitutional courts in upholding the EU’s common values. We have been at the forefront of calling on the Commission to establish a comprehensive Union Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (EU Pact DRF) that is objective, impartial, and evidence-based and applied equally and fairly to all Member States as well as to the institutions of the Union and which includes both a preventative and a corrective dimension.

Fostering media diversity and press freedom. The role of the media is critical in safeguarding democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Socialists and Democrats are committed to ensure that the role of the press is respected and high-quality journalism is allowed to flourish. Therefore, we need to promote and strengthen quality investigative journalism, improve protection for journalists when they are under attack and reinforce co-operation between journalists and trade unions. We must ensure media pluralism and transparency on media ownership across the EU.

An information society protecting privacy and personal data. The Socialist and Democrats lead the way in shaping European rules on information society, to ensure that no EU citizen is exposed to abuses. National reforms on surveillance should be transparent and include all international and European safeguards. We remain committed to reinforce the rule of law in digital societies, ensure that victim support services are strengthened in criminal proceedings and effective legal remedies are in place along with effective oversight.

For a rights-based Union. Mismanaged globalisation has left whole sections of the population with no benefits, across countries and regions. We must ensure that welfare states, social cohesion, equality and inclusiveness are strengthened to cope with the multiple challenges posed by globalisation. We believe strongly that fundamental rights must take precedence over economic freedoms and that a strong Social Europe develops in the near future as it is the safety net of our democracy.

Against all forms of discrimination. We are pushing for an ambitious EU legislative agenda that ensures equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, regardless of their religious or political beliefs, gender or sexual orientation, social or ethnic origin. Full equality of women and men is an essential principle of the Union. The S&D Group demands that the Council unblocks the Anti-discrimination Directive and that the Commission uses its competences to the full to act on the Council of Europe recommendations on the fight against discrimination of LGBTI persons in the EU. See: http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/position-papers/sd-position-paper-lgbti-rights.

“Defending and strengthening democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Europe” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.

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2017 is a crucial year for social Europe. After years of economic and social hardship, the gear is finally shifting. We, Socialists and Democrats, after a long fight with many others, could get social inequalities being put at the centre of EU policies. And we need to push further: making sure that our progressive proposals are turned into a concrete results that ensure decent living and working conditions for all European citizens.
Europe needs, more than ever, to ensure its commitments under the Treaties such as promoting the well-being of people, quality employment, social protection and cohesion, equality between women and men, protection of the rights of children and the development of quality education.
The deterioration of the quality of jobs all over Europe must stop. A major digital revolution may have brought a plethora of new possibilities but it has also created new and atypical forms of employment, where social rights and employment conditions are at stake.  We need to ensure that all European citizens are offered a decent work contract and have access to social protection and can benefit from equal opportunities.
For our progressive political family, ensuring high social standards and upward convergence in Europe are key objectives.  Our vision of Social Europe is a paradigm shift towards an alternative social model based on solidarity, integration, social justice, fair wages a fair wealth distribution, gender equality, a high-quality public services and education systems, quality employment and a sustainable growth model that ensures equality and social protection, empowers vulnerable groups, enhances participation and citizenship and improves the living standards of all citizens.
The S&D Group has been strongly demanding concrete initiatives to strengthen and update the European Social Model. We believe that the future of the Union will depend on how much Europeans are able to re-identify the European Union with the protection and the reinforcement of their labour and social rights, and, thereby, of their quality of life. The European Pillar of Social Rights has created the momentum for this to happen and we cannot miss this chance.
Although the Commission proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights is less ambitious than our progressive proposals, it brings an added value to the current acquis with upgrades in social standards for different target groups, such as workers, young people, people with disabilities or people in need of long term care. Very importantly, the Social Pillar highlights the need for equal treatment among workers irrespectively of what type of working contract they have.
We need to make sure that the Social Pillar is proclaimed but also that it is translated into concrete actions: a Social Action Plan combining legal, financial and governance means at EU level.
 
We European Socialists and Democrats  and Progressives must engage in ensuring that social standards are respected and updated and that the European Union and Member States adopt and implement the different principles and pieces of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
“Putting social rights at the core of our Union” is one of the priorities part of the “Building the Progressive Future Together” statement, that will be debated during our event in Brussels on October 18-19. We’re counting on your input, so each of you can play a part in shaping our common future. It’s easy – just sign in, click on the link and add your thoughts. We will select the best comment for each workshop and fly the person who sent it to Brussels, as our Together Ambassador, to debate live with our MEPs, European Commissioners, academics and intellectuals. Deadline: October 9.

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As far as European Integration is concerned, Less, history teaches us, is More. One look at the past is enough to understand what the Union was built on and for : Peace in our time, cooperation between peoples, stability and prosperity for all. But those things have been stolen from us : peace have been achieved through silence, the ideal of cooperation has been used to promote a liberal agenda, stability and prosperity, which our elders rightfully considered as rights now appear to be privileges. The growing number of European leaders turning their back on the EU is nothing but the results of those dark dynamics : we never had dreams about economic cooperation though we could understand how that would allow our interactions to be even more relevant and healthy, but we can’t live in a Union of bosses and investors, of tax evasion and social dumping, of performances and failures. We need ideals to drive us forward, we need ideals to carry on with our lives, we need ideals to connect peoples otherwise divided by boarders, mountains, rivers and seas. For sometimes, waking up requires from us to dream first, we need to offer the workers and the peoples of the Union a common foundation of values and ideals that every European nations should pledge to honour and defend. Let the Union to the dreamers and the passionate! Let go of the pragmatists, of the selfish! For they are killing our Union, our ambitions, our aspirations and our hopes.

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THE EUROPEAN UNION BECOMES A DRIVER FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN EUROPE AND BEYOND Why and how? In a scenario where sustainability sits firmly at the heart of the European project,the EU27 will prioritise the interests of citizens, in the EU and beyond. Europe will have a strong focus on Europe’s core social values – democracy and participation, social justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law and human rights, both within Europe and around the globe. Citizens seek economic, social and environmental wellbeing. Economic wellbeing in the form of prosperity for all, starting with redistribution of wealth. Social wellbeing in the provision of quality, inclusive and affordable public services, the promotion of cultural diversity and a caring society. Environmental wellbeing residing in a healthy natural environment that sustains all life on Earth and protects our soils, waters and air, provides nutritious, healthy food and where climate change is minimized. As a result of this focus, the EU27 will ensure a better health and quality of life for its citizens. This will increase public trust in European institutions. It will move away from the current focus where commercial and corporate interests are all too often prioritized over the public interest. Decisions are made in the public interest and transparent, accountable and inclusive institutions will be the norm. The EU27 will ensure that policies agreed by the Member States are fully implemented and enforced. Scandals like Dieselgate, which caused tens of thousands of premature deaths, will not be repeated. By 2025, this means: Delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the principles and Sustainable Development Goals: leaving no one behind, living within Europe’s fair share of our planetary boundaries, and putting respect for human rights at the core of EU and national policy-making. The full implementation of the Paris Agreement by decarbonising our economy, enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the just and sustainable transition to clean and affordable renewable energy, based on the principles of climate justice, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The notion of ‘Better Regulation’ implies that all EU policies, laws and regulations are focused on ensuring policy coherence for sustainable development and on enforcement of high standards for jobs, health, safety and the environment, delivering tangible benefits to all citizens and the regeneration of environmental capital. Policy coherence as a key objective will result in an end to negative externalities of domestic policies for the Global South and the phasing out of perverse public subsidies, especially for unsustainable food production and fossil fuels. Companies and their subsidiaries outside the EU and throughout their supply chains are under a legal obligation to assess, mitigate and prevent negative environmental and human rights impacts of their business activities globally. International trade is recognised as a means to achieve social, environmental and economic objectives, not an end in itself. A positive agenda for trade and investment agreements will be designed primarily to advance wellbeing and the public interest instead of cost reduction for companies. Europe will raise the bar for all other regions and actively discourage a race to the bottom. Through strengthening representative and participatory democracy and ensuring civic space for people’s participation beyond elections, citizens can better engage with the European project and shape a positive European vision for the future. The EU27 and the Member States will consider education as a public responsibility that offers lifelong learning for all in order to develop active citizenship, critical thinking, social inclusion, cultural diversity and an understanding of sustainable development and human rights. Gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights will be priority in all EU policies and practices, both domestically and externally A just transition to a green and socially fair economy, in which our human and natural resources are cherished, within the planetary boundaries. A European Social Model provides full protection to all workers, all consumers and all generations of people living in the EU. Effective and coordinated taxation measures ensure that all companies pay appropriate taxes and contribute to national public budgets for socio-economic wellbeing. The EU27 will effectively fight tax evasion and close down European tax havens. Pros and cons: Europe reinvents itself and better communicates the benefits, rights and protections it delivers to citizens. Acceptance of and trust in European institutions will increase as citizens experience the benefits of European cooperation. Policy silos are dismantled, incoherencies and contradictions are resolved. All policies and programmes are contributing to the sustainable development agenda. IMPACT ON POLICIES Capacity to address citizens’ concerns and democratisation The EU27 will introduce new methods to increase the influence of citizens and civil society on key European policy issues and give them a bigger role in EU decision making, to strengthen transparency, participation and accountability. Climate and a healthy environment Common standards are set that bring citizens clean air and water, renewable and community based energy, safe and healthy food. Ambitious measures to phase out fossil fuels and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, including from the Global South, are implemented, leading to a fair share (sufficiency) in the use of natural resources. Social and inclusive policies All European citizens and residents enjoy the same level of protection, based on international human rights. Income gaps are narrowed, equality goals are achieved, wellbeing is improved and health disparities decrease within and between countries and across generations. Trade policies Trade policies become more transparent and contribute to the achievement of social and environmental objectives, including global climate agreements, the protection of the health and well-being of citizens, and are consistent with fundamental rights. Foreign policy, migration and international cooperation Europe assumes a leading role in ensuring a human-centered response to global migration, for the benefit and protection of all those involved. It contributes its fair share, both as a donor and as host for refugees, ensuring equal and fair access to services for all. The EU continues to be a key donor to implement its commitments to the protection of human rights in its international cooperation. The EU actively supports binding rules on human rights for its businesses that are operating overseas. Budgets The EU Budget lives up to its potential to catalyse sustainability, economic justice and wellbeing, to maintain and restore our natural resources and biodiversity. It includes participatory spending tools as well as strong accountability mechanisms. In other words, there will be a budget for the people. More progressive tax policies and a tax shift from labour to environmental use. ILLUSTRATIVE SNAPSHOTS Trade, regional development and food policies incentivise local, national and regional governments to develop sustainable and locally distributed energy and food production systems: local production for local needs. International trade prioritises sustainability principles. An EU Enforcement Agency monitors the implementation of EU laws and quickly responds if needed. Amongst other tasks, this body actively monitors emissions from a wide range of products (cars, household appliances, etc.) for conformity with the agreed standards and applies effective sanctions in case of breaches of the regulations. EU budget and indicators: a new definition for economic progress in the EU is published regularly which goes beyond reliance on GDP and guides and measures impact of spending on the sustainable wellbeing of all citizens and their environment. All spending lines are fully sustainability- proofed, resulting in more targeted spending, and greater linking of resources with performance of Member States and regions in achieving the EU’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. Energy, climate and social policies: the EU27 introduces a fund to make 50 million houses in Europe energy neutral, thereby lowering living costs for citizens, stopping energy poverty and drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. New and effective civil society participation improves democracy, governance transparency and trust of EU citizens in building a positive and sustainable Europe. Europeans consume healthier food produced by reformed European agricultural systems and they enjoy widely restored European nature and increasing green spaces in the cities. Europe’s ecosystems are sufficiently protected and restored to deliver socio, economic and health benefits. Nature based solutions are at the center of Europe’s development. Free movement: the EU guarantees effective free movement to all people living in Europe. EU accessibility legislation will be adopted to ensure the 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe who currently cannot use mainstreamed products and services can participate on an equal basis with others as consumers in the internal market. Brussels, June 2017

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Many European citizen complain about the so-called “democratic deficit” within the EU, but what does this actually mean and how can we handle this problem? The European Parliament (EP) is the only supranational institution whose politicians are directly elected every five years. The Parliament is composed of 751 members, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. In the last decades, especial after the Lisbon treaty, the EP gained more power. This means, that the EP in now part of the legislative process (ordinary legislative procedure) together with the Commission and the Council. Furthermore, EU citizen have the right to join the political debate when using the European Citizen’s initiative, which aimed at increasing direct democracy. However, many citizens still don’t feel a number of European institutions actions. They are scared that their worries are not heard in the bubble of Brussels. So, what can be done to target that institutional crisis? First, transparency is needed to increase the EU’s efficiency and credibility. It must be easier to understand the EU’s working process. This also means that a lobby register is finally needed to make EU’s decision making more transparent. Second, Brussels should decentralize some of the decision making since member states are closer to the everyday life of people. The EU should always respect results of democratic elections, even these means that the decision-making processes can take longer. A good example is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free-trade agreement between Canada, the European Union and its Member States. All 28 European Union member states approved the final text of CETA for signature, with Belgium being the final country to give its approval. Even in that case Belgium finally supported that agreement, democratic decisions must always be accepted by the EU. Third, the European Parliament needs to receive the power for legislative initiative, what currently alone the Commission has. Since only the Parliament is directly elected by the EU’s citizen, it is not acceptable that it has not this significant right. Finally, it can be seen that the latest treaties decreased the EU’s democratic deficit with shifting more power to the Parliament or the implementation of the European Citizen’s initiative. However, it needs to be pointed out that it is still a long way to completely end the democratic deficit. Events like “Europe Together” are a good way to involve more citizens in this political debate and it makes the EU more attractive for the youth. I would be very delighted to support this S&D vision in October 2017 and hope that it will be a great event for all participants.

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Many European citizen complain about the so-called “democratic deficit” within the EU, but what does this actually mean and how can we handle this problem? The European Parliament (EP) is the only supranational institution whose politicians are directly elected every five years. The Parliament is composed of 751 members, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. In the last decades, especial after the Lisbon treaty, the EP gained more power. This means, that the EP in now part of the legislative process (ordinary legislative procedure) together with the Commission and the Council. Furthermore, EU citizen have the right to join the political debate when using the European Citizen’s initiative, which aimed at increasing direct democracy. However, many citizens still don’t feel a number of European institutions actions. They are scared that their worries are not heard in the bubble of Brussels. So, what can be done to target that institutional crisis? First, transparency is needed to increase the EU’s efficiency and credibility. It must be easier to understand the EU’s working process. This also means that a lobby register is finally needed to make EU’s decision making more transparent. Second, Brussels should decentralize some of the decision making since member states are closer to the everyday life of people. The EU should always respect results of democratic elections, even these means that the decision-making processes can take longer. A good example is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a free-trade agreement between Canada, the European Union and its Member States. All 28 European Union member states approved the final text of CETA for signature, with Belgium being the final country to give its approval. Even in that case Belgium finally supported that agreement, democratic decisions must always be accepted by the EU. Third, the European Parliament needs to receive the power for legislative initiative, what currently alone the Commission has. Since only the Parliament is directly elected by the EU’s citizen, it is not acceptable that it has not this significant right. Finally, it can be seen that the latest treaties decreased the EU’s democratic deficit with shifting more power to the Parliament or the implementation of the European Citizen’s initiative. However, it needs to be pointed out that it is still a long way to completely end the democratic deficit. Events like “Europe Together” are a good way to involve more citizens in this political debate and it makes the EU more attractive for the youth. I would be very delighted to support this S&D vision in October 2017 and hope that it will be a great event for all participants.

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New social and economic changes of the first and second decades of this century should encourage people to look for solution, which would allow mitigating the results of the crisis in case of human rights to education. There is no question that improvement of the human rights in the field of education will develop good education system itself, but it is critical that the government of every country must ensure that the access to education will be exercised without discrimination of social status. For sure, European Union has a big need and potential for general development, but equal access to education will open other doors to progress, which can help to make the whole world a better place to live! For instance, educational mobility of youth and intercultural learning. Nowadays, due to some political reasons, researchers cannot work easily in some countries, they face with struggles and bans from governmental organizations just because of passport origin. I believe, that the more people are educated; the more need they have to open the borders for some new knowledge, which is definitely a springboard to traveling and intercultural learning. I see this as a preventing from hate speech, which is some wide spread in our world. Will it make our world better? I am sure it will! We just need to make it happen and start with improving the situation with human rights on education, because if ones do not have free access to education, the awareness about other human rights violations will be lower as well.

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In the heart of democracy lies the true controversial element of our political structure which is how can we truly benefit the lives of the very people that struggle with migration aren’t being allowed in certain areas of Europe to reform and flourish their contributions to society. Instead for example in Italy, particularity African refugees or migrants can not contribute to a system that can not prepare or allow them to advance in a career. Yes there are programs for languages, however instead of selling bracelets, there needs to be another way in which immigrants can bring an advantage in the career field. For example, in some countries, such as Senegal, French is spoken. Northern Africans in Tunisia also can bring this asset in the work force. However, the questioning of a sustainable system needs to be revealed, but, this question also reveals Italy’s economic as well as political structure. That in itself, needs to be questioned first to reveal the answer when it comes to the relations of the stranieri or the foreigners. First, the realization that Italy is still an early unified country needs to be evaluated . And there are still tensions between the different regions in Italy. Second, the concept that until 1991, Italy had never been modernly accustomed to difference, therefore this is the opportunity to allow new laws to emerge because of how recent immigration has become. And finally, the end result will be how the Italian Parliament can accept this difference, as well as Italians as a whole. This will be the resulting question that will determine Italy’s democratic notions when it comes to immigration.

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My name is Petra, I’m a 23 year old Romanian girl. Been an advocate for non discrimination and the rights of persons with disabilities at a very high level such as the European Parliament in 2009 and the Fundation for European Progressive studies in 2016. However, I’m still the white stick user who gets pushed on the stairs at the metro station where people rush before train doors close in a blink, the blind student who took a chance to drop the special educational system and ended up with two bachelor degrees… and I’m not bragging… I’m actually noticing people even in more westernized countries, people who are not only persons with disabilities but maybe people with a different sexual orientation/gender issue, religion, race, ethnicity and so on… Awareness raising is great and growing in the EU but is it enough? I started my innitiative in Romania by getting employed in the National Authority for Persons with disabilities and finding jobs or occupation for my friends with disabilities. Then I created a small organization where my mom carries out her job as a therapist doing her best to integrate parents of disabled youngsters and I’m doing my best to find stuff for them out of the sterilized protected environment of their home or of society limits. I think this kind of initiative can be extended also at EU level and not only by covering persons with disability as a target group but also everyone who is in their way beautifully different. I am a leftist and I encourage mutual cooperation and the opportunity of offering any kind of resource from a good listening friend to a great and hardworking manager! by involving we can change mentalities and it doesn’t have to be a continuous fight against the world but an emphatic peaceful friendship! Our UN convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities advocates the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. I think this principle can be extended to advocate all human rights in a very diverse Europe!!! I hope friends will come up and join the idea and also get involved and enjoy building a diverse and brilliant Europe where people live for unity , peace and community!!!

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