Few months ahead of the European elections, our battle for a radically different Europe is on. This is an existential fight. Only if the EU changes fundamentally and embarks on the transition to a sustainable society that caters for the well-being of all, it will be able to survive and keep up with the challenges of our time.
There is something fundamentally wrong with our economic and social model. Far too long, the majority of our political and economic elites turned a blind eye to the blatant injustices mounting in plain sight and chose to believe in myths, such as the one of tickle-down economics, instead. The result is a society marked by unbearable inequalities, concentrated power and wealth that neglects the natural limits of our planet. In this society, too many are left behind.
The time of this ancient regime is clearly up. Phenomena like the yellow jackets protests not only show that our economic model is rotten, but also that it fails to keep up with the challenges at hand. Such events show that, evidently, there is a huge and urgent need for recognition, inclusion and equality in our societies. Our citizens and our workers are outraged to be the only ones feeling the burden of ongoing transformations such as the greening of our economies, while multinationals, tech giants, and mega corporations contribute almost nothing to the necessary repair of a world from whose partial destruction they have profited.
The good news is that economic and social models can change. We, the Progressives, already succeeded in building a different model after the World War II as much as the conservatives shaped the cultural and economic paradigm emerging in the 1980’s. Today, it must again be our time to rise to the challenge. Otherwise, we risk giving illiberal forces the chance to impose a new regime of hate, fear, and chaos on us and our children. Our vision is that of a holistic model which understands that the challenges of our time cannot be addressed separately. What we need is an integrated approach that provides wellbeing to everyone while simultaneously preserving the future of our planet.
Such a model of sustainable equality has to be the new compass to redefine the social democratic narrative and paradigm. Building on the incredible opportunity of the UN 2030 Agenda, our Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament spells out a related and comprehensive roadmap for the future of the continent in its Sustainable Equality Report.
There is nothing more unjust on a wealthy continent than 28 million children suffering of insufficient quality food, housing, education, and health services
Pragmatic vision of 100 concrete policy recommendations
Our report, if implemented, would signify a real, break with the present. For instance, because there is nothing more unjust on a wealthy continent than 28 million children suffering of insufficient quality food, housing, education, and health services, we propose a Child Guarantee to oblige EU Member States to guarantee minors’ access to such essential goods and services. We do so because we know that there is nothing more sustainability-enhancing than a new generation that is empowered to bring its full potential for a fairer, more democratic, and resource-efficient society to bear.
Another of our key demands is that of a Just Transition strategy to support a fair transformation towards a resource-efficient model of production and consumption in Europe. Technological innovation and digitalisation can lead to less inequalities if they are managed properly and there is no reason why, for instance, the energy transition should not lead to better jobs in the energy sector and less poor people being cold in winter. To this end, Europe must mobilise all available resources, use them purposefully, and invest in its own, brighter future.
We seek to empower society against the dark forces that are currently threatening its social, economic, and ecological meltdown
The transformation of the Stability and Growth Pact into a Sustainable Development Pact to promote investments in social and ecological progress is likewise key for us. The purpose of democratic politics is to cater for the well-being of citizens – a vision that is incompatible with policy-making that is solely focused on fiscal targets. Europe must finally leave the dark days of the misguided austerity dogma behind and understand that an equal, resource-efficient and empowered society is one that is also a better society – and one that is also fiscally more sustainable.
At the very core of the programme lies the notion of empowerment. With our proposals, we seek to empower society against the dark forces that are currently threatening its social, economic, and ecological meltdown. We seek to empower people by giving them a voice in politics, trade unions, and public discourse to allow them to build their, our own future together. This endeavour is key to our Group’s actions in the upcoming campaign and beyond.