Social Justice Ireland has joined more than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe who have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women’s rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.
It comes ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week with the key issues for Europe’s future on the agenda, including migration, security, jobs and Brexit. This week also marks the one year anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (June 23) which propelled questions about the future of Europe up the political agenda.
The vision describes a future for Europe in which “sustainability sits firmly at the heart of the European project,” and the EU focuses on “democracy and participation, social and environmental justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law, and human rights both within Europe and around the globe”.
The organisations are putting this scenario for the future forward as an alternative to proposals from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, including five ‘Future of Europe’ scenarios which are currently being consulted on with member states with first conclusions due at the end of the year.
Next week the European Commission will release a proposal about the future of the EU’s finances beyond 2020. This reflection paper will be the last piece to Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, and will provide the first detailed look at the funding arrangements for the five scenarios outlined by the Commission.
A gathering campaign across many Member States is calling for a reformed EU budget to help advance many of the key themes in Scenario Six – the civil society alternative scenario based on sustainability, democracy and social and economic well-being. Social Justice Ireland made some proposals on the Future of Europe at an EESC event in Dublin earlier this month.