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EU mulls options for a more sustainable Europe by 2030

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EU mulls options for a more sustainable Europe by 2030

Climate change - Photo Mariaisen2

(BRUSSELS) - A Reflection Paper published Wednesday by the EU Commission looks at options to deliver the Union's commitment on UN Sustainable Development Goals, including on the Paris climate change agreement.

Reviewing the challenges for Europe and presenting illustrative scenarios for the future, the Paper steers the discussion on how these goals can be best achieved and how the European Union can best contribute by 2030.

The scenarios highlight that further action is needed if the EU and the world are to secure a sustainable future in the interest of citizens' well-being.

""Sustainability is part of Europe's DNA," said Jyrki Katainen, the EC's vice-president for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness: "It is about making sure that future generations will have the same or better opportunities than us, whilst respecting the limited resources of our planet."

"By modernising our societies in an inclusive manner, fully embracing circular economy and reaping the benefits of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, we can strive for climate neutrality and ensure our planet is in a better shape for our children," he added.

The EU is facing complex, changing and pressing challenges, in particular related to its ecological debt and climate change, demographic change, migration, inequality, economic and social convergence, and pressure on public finances.

Moreover, rising temptations of isolationism and nationalism are a sign that too many Europeans do not feel protected enough in this changing world.

The EU's Reflection Paper focuses on the key policy foundations for the sustainability transition, which include moving from linear to circular economy, correcting the imbalances in our food system, future-proofing our energy, buildings and mobility, and making sure that this transition is fair, leaving no one and no place behind.

The Paper also concentrates on the horizontal enablers, which need to underpin the sustainability transition, including education, science, technology, research, innovation and digitisation; finance, pricing, taxation and competition; responsible business conduct, corporate social responsibility and new business models; open and rules-based trade; governance and policy coherence at all levels.

The Paper ends by emphasising the importance of blazing the trail for the sustainability transition globally as our policies will only have a limited impact on the planet if others pursue opposing policies.

The Paper puts forward three scenarios to stimulate the discussion on how to follow up on the Sustainable Development Goals within the EU. These scenarios are illustrative: they aim to offer different ideas and spur debate and thinking. The eventual outcome would likely be a combination of certain elements from each. The three scenarios are:

  1. An overarching EU SDGs strategy guiding the actions of the EU and its Member States;
  2. A continued mainstreaming of the SDGs in all relevant EU policies by the Commission, but not enforcing Member States' action;
  3. An enhanced focus on external action while consolidating current sustainability ambition at EU level.

Factsheet: Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030

Reflection paper: Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030

Annexes to the reflection paper:

The Juncker Commission's Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The EU's performance on the Sustainable Development Goals

Contribution of the SDG Multi-Stakeholder Platform to the Reflection Paper


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