Dear EU Heads of State and Government,

Society expects adults to educate children but it is our kids who are schooling the grown-ups, with their regular protests demanding climate action and sustainable living. Moreover, the streets of Europe, from its largest metropolises to its smallest towns, have been the scenes of regular demonstrations and marches, demanding everything from climate action and extinction rebellions to women’s rights and socio-economic justice.

In the wake of the European elections, where voter turnout reached a 20-year high and which registered significant gains for progressive causes, it is clear that European citizens are more engaged now, together, at the EU level, than they have been in over two decades – representing an active and proactive antidote to Euroscepticism. As confirmed by poll after poll, European citizens desire an EU that will deliver social and environmental justice. Scientists, business leaders, cities, regions and civil society have all made the case for a new direction for Europe. The leaders of 30 private, public and civil society platforms, representing millions of EU residents, have united behind a strong call for sustainable development to become the EU’s number one political priority.

Do you hear those calls?

Despite progress in some areas, efforts to date have been woefully inadequate to meet the magnitude of the social and environmental challenges ahead of us. Urgent action is needed to address escalating inequalities and tackle the climate crisis, stop the rapid loss of biodiversity, ensure sustainable consumption and production and quality employment for all, and manage a just transition towards an economic system founded on wellbeing and quality of life.

At the European Council Summit on 20-21 June, EU leaders will discuss the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024. We call on you to show that you have heard our calls by making sustainable development the overarching objective of the European Union’s priorities, both inside and outside Europe, for at least the next five years. To bring about real and lasting change, sustainable development must be the golden thread running through all EU policies. You must stop looking at the economy merely as a means to create “prosperity” and “competitiveness” and, instead, view it as a tool to promote inclusive, sustainable and just societies that meet the needs of all, within the boundaries of our planet’s precious resources and the limits of its life-giving ecosystems.

The will for action among citizens and stakeholders is strong – all that is missing is your political will. As European, national, regional and international organisations working on very diverse social, environmental, economic, governance and international issues, together representing tens of millions of people in Europe, we will continue to raise our voices. But it is up to you as political leaders to steer us towards a better future in a Europe that prioritises the wellbeing of people and planet over short-term gains. We stand ready to support you in this endeavour.

Yours sincerely,

European and international signatories

National, regional and local signatories

The 151 signatories are:

CONCORD and 55 members
Social Platform
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
Housing Europe
Polish Zero Waste Association
Instytut na rzecz Ekorozwoju
Nyt Europa
Circular Economy Institute
Nature Trust Malta
The Finnish Society for Nature and Environment
Futuro en Común- Spanish cross sectorial platform
Hogar sin Tóxicos /Fundación Vivo Sano
Green Liberty
European Union Against Aircraft Nuisance (UECNA)
COFACE Families Europe
Seas At Risk
Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF)
CSR Europe

Naturefriends International
Terra Cypria, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation
Danish Ecological Council
Latvian Fund for Nature
European Movement Italy
Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR)
National Centre for Sustainable Production and Consumption Romania
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System
CEDD – Center for excellence in sustainable development
European Land and Soil Alliance
European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network
Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. (DUH)
EASPD – European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities
CEEweb for Biodiversity
CHEM Trust
Make Mothers Matter
Portuguese Society of Environmental Health
Society for Sustainable Living
Justice and Environment
International Federation of Social Workers Europe
France Nature Environnement
Genitori Antismog (Parents Against Smog )
European Committee of the Regions
Association 4D
Bond Beter Leefmilieu
AGE Platform Europe
Polish Ecological Club
Eco-TIRAS Intl. Assn. of [Dniester] River Keepers
ERN France – SOS Loire Vivante
Scottish Environment LINK
Inter-Environnement Wallonie
Natuur & Milieu
Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP)
Federazione degli Organismi Cristiani Servizio Internazionale Volontario (FOCSIV)
European Youth Forum
Clean Air Action Group (Hungary)
The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
Česko proti chudobě a nerovnostem
Dark-Sky Slovenia
Compassion in World Farming
Green Budget EU
Cittadini per l’aria
Quercus, Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza
The Restart Project
AWO International
Licht und Natur e.V.
Health and Environment Alliance – HEAL
Mental Health Europe
Federation of environmental organizations of Cyprus
Friends of the Earth Europe
European Social Action Network (ESAN)
Lifelong Learning platform
Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development – ASviS
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
VšĮ Žiedinė ekonomika


Open letter to EU leaders: Our sustainable future must start now
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