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Spring Summit should take lead on Sustainability - EEB, ETUC and Social Platform

20 March 2003, 20:14 CET

It is time for the Heads of State and Government to take a leadership role towards the objectives of the Lisbon and Gothenburg summits 'by practising what it is preached within the EU'. Lasting peace and security can only be secured if, next to respect for human rights and democracy, global and regional policies are implemented to guarantee social cohesion, jobs and quality of life within an environmentally sustainable context.

This is the focus of a joint declaration issued today by the European Environmental Bureau, the European Trade Union Confederation and the Social Platform, which call upon Member States to make the coming Spring Summit a significant step forward for Sustainable Development.

As the representatives of millions of citizens of the European Union, the three organisations have agreed on a statement containing concrete proposals for the Spring Summit:

  • Shifting from a narrow economic growth orientation to a broader quality-oriented economic development, as social, ecological and economic inequalities reinforce each other, impeding sustainable development.

  • Integrating environmental and social concerns need a new approach to policy-making. Policy decisions need to be based on forecasting, taking mid and long-term economic, social and environmental effects into account in a coordinated way.

  • The European Council should take the lead on sustainability, calling upon Member States to draw up Sustainable Development Plans and to report annually on these as part of the preparation of the Spring Council, especially with respect to the main objectives of sustainability.

  • Make public investments work for sustainability through the promotion of programs, which would include social and environmental objectives. This would set the right example and create sizeable markets for new, sustainable products and services.

  • Sufficient EU financial resources should be allocated to the Accession Countries to support a sustainable social and economic infrastructure, combined with social and environmental investment.

EEB, ETUC and the Social Platform expect the Spring Summit to reconfirm the essential role of governments to involve all stakeholders, but also to inspire and guide societies. Leadership should be reflected in government programmes that integrate the priorities of sustainable development.

The Platform of European Social NGOs (Social Platform) is an association of 38 European non-governmental organisations, federations and networks that work in the social sector and uphold the interests of a wide spectrum of European civil society. The Platform includes associations of organisations representing women, older people, people with disabilities, unemployed people, migrants, people living in poverty, gays, lesbians, young people, children and families. The member organisations also include NGOs working on social issues such as social justice, homelessness, life-long learning, health and racism. tel. + 32 2 511 3714

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) was established in 1973 to influence the process of European integration and to develop transnational trade union activities. At present, the ETUC has in its membership 74 National Trade Union Confederations from a total of 34 European countries, as well as 11 European industry federations, making a total of 60 million members. tel. + 32 2 224 0411

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is a federation of 135 environmental citizensÂ’ organisations based in all EU Member States and most Candidate Countries, as well as in some neighbouring countries. These organisations range from local and national, to European and
international. The aim of the EEB is to protect and improve the environment of Europe and to enable the citizens of Europe to play their part in achieving that goal.

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