The overarching strategy of the European Union for the past four years can be summed up in two words: “growth and jobs”. As a result, EU policy has often prioritised economic expansion over the welfare of the people of Europe and the sustainability of our planet.
The next decade will be critical to deciding whether the EU wants to take the lead on sustainable development. Addressing the challenges of climate change, the financial and economic crises, the energy crunch, resource conflicts and global poverty requires a change in the current paradigm of competitiveness and growth. It requires a coherent EU agenda with the ambition of satisfying human needs and bringing quality of life while ensuring social equity and respecting the earth’s carrying capacity.
The European Environmental Bureau, the European Trade Union Confederation, Social Platform and Concord have joined forces and initiated the Spring Alliance, with a single purpose: to tackle these issues by promoting an overarching EU strategy that pursues simultaneously economic, environmental and social goals. In this vision, the environment and social goals are not an addendum to the ‘growth and jobs’ strategy (the so-called ‘Lisbon strategy’) but are the cornerstone of a long term development strategy.