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A wake up call for the current and future European Commission

30/01/2019

Reaction to the European Commission Reflection Paper 'Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030'

Today, the European Commission launched its Reflection Paper ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030'. The paper discusses the way forward in the implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the last in a series of white papers on the future of Europe.

Three scenarios for how to best follow up on the SDGs are being put forward in the Reflection Paper:

The first scenario calls for an overarching EU SDG strategy in line with the recommendations of the High Level Multi-stakeholder Platform on the SDGs annexed to the paper that the European Youth Forum has been part of. There is no better compass to determine the strategic framework for the EU and its Member States than the 2030 Agenda.

The second scenario proposes continued mainstreaming of the SDGs in all relevant EU policies. However this scenario would not be enough to lead to a sustainable future for current and future generations of young people.

The reflection paper itself admits that we are further away from reaching SDG 10 on inequalities than when the 2030 Agenda was adopted in 2015. While the EU-27 Member States have the highest score on average for SDG 1 on poverty, young people in particular are continuing to suffer from social exclusion. In 2016 young people aged 16-24 had an in-work at risk of poverty rate of 12.2%, whereas it is 9.7% for those 25 or older. Merely eleven out of EU-27 Member States feature in the top 20 of the worldwide Youth Progress Index produced by European Youth Forum in 2018.

The third scenario suggests putting enhanced focus on external action. It completely ignores the universal character of the 2030 Agenda set by the United Nations. All government bodies must be made accountable for the implementation and the monitoring of the sustainable development strategy.

The European Youth Forum therefore urges the upcoming European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States to work together to make scenario one, the overarching EU SDG strategy, a reality and involve young people in the process. Implementing the 2030 Agenda is not simply one of three options, it is the only way to go for a strong and forward-looking European Union.

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