Tuesday, May 22, 2018 06:12:49 AM
Céline Charveriat and Damien Demailly :
Eurostat's latest report on EU performance against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights a number of challenges for the EU, including inequality, poverty, gender and biodiversity.
The SDGs were adopted by all the member states and the international community in 2015, but the news from this report will probably miss Brussels headlines. Hitting the headlines or not, the SDGs should not be ignored by policymakers They could be the key to launching the eagerly awaited debate on Europe's future political priorities.
Although Europe was active in the negotiations on the seventeen goals and the associated 160 targets to reach by 2030, their implementation has had a rough start.
S&D chief: 'Employment for young Africans is a huge challenge'
On the eve of the EU-Africa Summit, Gianni Pittella says that European short-termism in migration policy will not address its root causes, and looks at agribusiness to leverage the continent out of poverty - 'but not at any cost'.
In its 2016 communication, the European Commission limited itself to a "repackaging" exercise, explaining that current European policies were already aligned with SDGs. An intervention of the European Council and the European Parliament before Summer 2017 moved the Commission to commit to publishing a Reflection Paper in 2018 on the SDGs.
What are the reflections that should be featured in this paper? What should be done with the SDGs at the European level?
A likely scenario would be that the EU simply revises its existing sustainable development strategy to align it with the SDGs. This is what some member states have already done. However, given the lack of political weight given to this strategy to date, such a move would be insufficient.
Europe should be more ambitious and not settle for the bare minimum. Becoming a global leader in implementing the SDGs is not only an opportunity to improve Europe's reputation for sustainable development, but an opportunity to lead progress on the most pressing European debate - the debate on the future of Europe.
For the time being, this debate is limited to institutional issues: do we want more or less Europe? Do we want a multi-speed Europe? Little or nothing has been said on European political priorities for the next decade. The Europe 2020 strategy had set a political course for the current decade, with a dozen priorities with indicators and goals determined for employment, research, climate change, education, energy and poverty.
What are the EU's priorities by 2030, and for the next European Parliament and Commission? This question is as important as the institutional dimension. It is certainly the one which interests citizens the most.
Europe needs a partnership policy with the South and the East
A window of opportunity has opened for European policy since growth rates rebounded. But whether growth will continue for a time long enough for reducing the fiscal burden, unemployment and inequality depends on strategy changes, write Karl Aiginger and Heinz Handler.
The SDGs are a foundation to start dealing with these issues. It is a legitimate framework because it has been adopted by all member states. There is no need to start from scratch: the European member states have already adopted a common vision, but it needs to be translated into concrete political priorities.
The Eurostat report constitutes a first step of this translation. It identifies concerning trends on various topics that could become priorities for the EU: people at risk of poverty, access to health care, acquisition of fundamental knowledge at school, involuntary temporary employment, inequalities between men and women in the employment rate of recent graduates, income inequalities, investments in research and development, urban sprawl, the status of natural ecosystems, or the Union's energy dependency.
This statistical work should be followed by two more steps: a technical and a political one.
First, there is a need to fill the gaps in Eurostat's work with indicators that take into account Europe's impact on the rest of the world, for example the impact of our imports on developing countries' deforestation, and in a broader way to help assess the EU foreign policy.
Another weakness is the fact that past tendencies do not say much on the ability of our policies to set us - or not set us - on the right path. Let's take the example of climate.
Unless new policies are adopted, it seems unlikely that the EU will reach its own objective of 40% reduction of emissions by 2030, and even less likely that the Paris agreement's goal of carbon neutrality will be met by 2050. We need a policy gap analysis, and this is in fact what the Council and European Parliament asked the Commission to do.
Settimo Torinese, Italy - July 18, 2017: Red Cross reception center is temporary hub for refugees arriving in Italy.
Europe's quick fix deals can undermine young Africans and spur them to leave
Africa's youth will take center stage at the EU-Africa Summit this week. For Europeans, the most important outcome is migration deals with Africa. Reports of alleged slavery in Libya should be a warning that quick fixes to curbing migration can undermine young Africans, argues Marije Balt.
However detailed and meticulous, the debate on the EU's priorities should not be limited to technical analysis. This debate should be politicised, and should not wait for the European elections in 2019. The technical analysis of the EU's challenges should feed a high-level political process in the European institutions and involve citizens.
How should we proceed?
A group of widely recognized figures appointed by the European Council and the Parliament could be in charge of proposing a dozen political priorities. These priorities would be based on a more complete analysis of Europe's challenges of reaching the SDGs.
It should also be accompanied by monitoring indicators and goals for 2030.
This group would be accountable to the European Council and Parliament and would present its work in citizens' conventions and agree a final decision through a "Europe 2030 strategy" discussed during a special s ummit.
In order for citizens to regain trust in the EU, the EU should clarify its vision of progress and main goals for the next decade. The SDGs are a foundation to launch this debate that should conclude in 2019. By the end of 2019, the SDGs and its indicators must be mobilized on other important European topics: the Common Agricultural Policy reform, the Multiannual Financial Framework or the Better Regulation agenda.
(Céline Charveriat is Executive Director at The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). Damien Demailly is Initiatives Coordinator at Institut du Développement Durable et des Relations Internationales (IDDRI).
ALTHOUGH the country witnessed a significant urban growth in the last few decades, there was an absence of proper planning and institutions in the urban transport sector, causing indiscipline and mismanagement there, experts and activists mentioned in a roundtable on Saturday to press political parties to incorporate plans in their ...
Internet :The world No 1, Simona Halep, collapsed spectacularly in her rematch with Elina Svitolina to hand the Ukrainian a second Italian Open title.It took the fourth seed just over an hour to dispose of her wounded foe, 6-0, 6-4, her fourth win over Halep in six meetings. Last year ...
Actor Priyanka Chopra, who was among the guests invited at the Royal wedding, penned a heartfelt note for her friend Meghan Markle and said it was an emotional moment for her to see the couple exchange their wedding vows at the Windsor Castle. Priyanka took to Instagram on Saturday night ...
AFP, Washington :US President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that the Justice Department investigate whether his presidential campaign was "infiltrated" or spied on for political purposes, prompting it to announce it would look into those issues.Trump has described the infiltration allegations as being potentially "bigger than Watergate," but Democrats say he ...
IN the last 15 days, nine alleged criminals were killed during "gunfight" with Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Of them, three alleged drug traders were killed in Jassore early Friday, according to a newspaper report. Besides, six other people were killed in shootouts with RAB in different parts of the country, ...
Entertainment Report :Meher Afroze Shaon is popularly known as both an actress and a singer. Few days ago, she gave her voice for a playback song. Till now the listeners did not hear the song. After Eid, Shaon is coming with that song. For the first time Shaon has rendered ...
AP, Chester :Marcus Epps and Borek Dockal scored in the first half and the Philadelphia Union added two more in the second to beat Real Salt Lake 4-1 on Saturday night.Fabrice-Jean Picault had a 40-yard run up the left channel to set up the opening goal in the 21st minute, ...
Reuters, Baghdad :Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday, less than 24 hours after the Shi'ite cleric's bloc was declared winner of Iraq's parliamentary election, the clearest sign yet they could work together to form a coalition."During our meeting, we agreed to work together and with ...
Raazi has been sailing smoothly on its journey towards the prestigious Rs 100 crore club and it will be no shocker if the film grosses over it. The cast and crew of the film recently held an event to celebrate the success of the film with the media as well ...