Commenting on today’s State of the European Union speech by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, Leida Rijnhout from Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“We need a fundamental rethink of the kind of Europe we want – in some areas President Juncker seems to recognise this, but in others it is very much business as usual. It remains to be seen whether his proposals will go far enough to really bridge the gap between the EU its citizens.
“Citizens are still crying out for a vision for the future of Europe that puts public interest, democracy, environmental justice, human rights and a strong social fabric at the core. But the Commission unfortunately remains too focused on trade, investment, the Eurozone and defense issues.”
“The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, already supported by the EU, must be put at the heart of the Future of Europe.”
Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe continued:
“Juncker’s plans on trade are ignore widespread criticism that they undermine Europe’s social, environmental and health standards. He continues to give VIP rights to investors through a Multilateral Investment Court while he gives no rights to citizens harmed by these investors and sustainability chapters are non-binding.”
More than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe have released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe.
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". It 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.