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30 May 2017

Demand for people’s budget

European citizens have to be a part of a debate on a future of Europe and on the next EU budget that has to work both for citizens and the planet. It should show Europe’s willingness to achieve sustainability and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the EU is committed to. Representatives of non-governmental organizations, as well as of DG Climate Action, DG Regio, DG Environment and European Parliament came together in Brussels to discuss the ways to achieve these objectives.

The results of a stakeholder survey on the next EU budget was presented at the meeting. The survey was designed by the SDG Watch Europe alliance with CEEweb taking the lead and collected more than 300 responses from all over Europe. The EU becoming a key driver to sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals mainstreamed and more citizens’ participation and higher transparency in decision-making processes are the demands that reached a broad agreement among survey respondents.

However, it is not simply about more money. We need to see policy coherence and reducing trade-offs that lead to EU money being wasted on contradictory objectives. That is why SDG Watch Europe is introducing 8 sustainability principles to ensure coherence in the future internal and external EU spending and to put sustainability at the heart of the European project. Klara Hajdu, Senior Policy Officer at CEEweb for Biodiversity stressed the need for sustainability proofing.  “We need a structured process with the effective application of tools in order to prevent and mitigate the problems as well as to minimize negative effects.” – says Klara Hajdu.

NGO representatives agreed on the future steps to be taken in order to call on the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council to integrate these principles from the very beginning of the financial policy planning, and prioritise the interest of the citizens and the implementation of the SDGs.