Several European stakeholders, mainly civil society organisations, think tanks and social economy enterprises, including eco-union, have published a Call to Action to the European Ministers for Environment and Energy gathered in Valladolid, Spain, on 10-11 July, as well as on other EU and national level decisionmakers, to complement the implementation of urgently needed, ambitious environmental and climate policies with robust social policies that protect marginalised people primarily and the regions suffering disproportionately from the transition, whilst guaranteeing access to high-quality essential services for all.
To foster a sense of community and unity and to get everyone on board with the systemic transformations needed to face the climate and environmental emergency, Europe needs a New Social Contract in which social and environmental sustainability go hand in hand. This must be built on policies that accelerate the climate and environmental transition at the same time as they tackle structural socio-economic inequalities and gender, racial, disability and other forms of discrimination, promote inclusion and social and territorial cohesion, ensure respect for fundamental human rights, and alleviate poverty.
The success of this approach relies on collaboration with and the active involvement of social and civil partners through robust social and civil dialogue, and the creation of an inclusive and bottom-up system of governance, involving actors and constituencies at European, regional, national and local level.
This logic should underpin “Green and Social” or “Just Transition” deals established at all levels of governance and aiming to:
- Forge a socio-ecological welfare state defined by wellbeing within planetary boundaries.
- Guarantee decent, meaningful, sustainable, inclusive and quality jobs accessible to all.
- Recognise and invest in the role of formal, non-formal and informal learning in the process of ensuring a Just Transition.
- Set up the future European Green Deal as a holistic legislative and financial framework based on the premise of systemic change and prioritising wellbeing over GDP growth.
- Build this future European Green Deal with a strong external dimension that ensures policy coherence for development and guarantees a fair distribution of the cost of the transition between Europe and partner countries.
- Reflect the climate and social priorities of Just Transition in the EU’s economic policy, including within the economic governance rules.
- Provide massive and long-term investments for a Just Transition.
We need a paradigm shift, and the time is now. A Just Transition is not only possible, but the only acceptable way forward.