EU leaders gathered in Sibiu, Romania, today to discuss the future of Europe ahead of this month’s European elections.
The 28 heads of state agreed on 10 commitments that are meant to strengthen cooperation among EU members to protect the democratic principles of inclusiveness, fairness and rule of law within the bloc.
However, despite earlier encouraging messages from politicians in the wake of recent climate strikes, the declaration fails to properly address the myriad environmental crises and sustainability challenges which we face today, according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental organisations, with around 150 members in over 30 countries.
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the EEB, said:
“While the commitment of EU leaders to unity and joint action is welcome, it is sorely disappointing that the Sibiu Declaration has relegated the environment to little more than a footnote.
At a time of environmental distress, climate crisis and widening inequalities, the environment and sustainable development must be central to every chapter and verse of EU action.
Yesterday, eight countries – Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Portugal – signed a non-paper calling on the rest of Europe to redirect finances towards green projects and ensure a smooth and swift transition to a climate neutral society. However, the letter failed to gain traction among big polluters such as Germany, Italy and Poland.
When they meet in June, European leaders must insist that the next Commission places environmental sustainability at the very heart of its mandate. It’s high time to make Sustainable Europe a reality.