WWF has urged election candidates and future EU leaders to put people’s wellbeing in a thriving environment at the centre of their thinking as they shape the future of the EU and its population. In its election manifesto launched today, the organisation – with more than 3.2 million supporters in Europe – calls for a European Sustainability Pact for a safer, more competitive and responsible EU.
Themes such as migration, unemployment and security are the likely focus of the upcoming EU election debates, reflecting some of the key concerns of European citizens. However, recent polls have shown that voters are just as worried about the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, and these challenges are indeed closely linked to the future stability and security of our societies. The extreme weather events witnessed this summer, along with the recent publication of the IPCC report on the impacts of climate change, are now painting a clear picture of the future we face.
“Politicians must face a simple truth: A thriving future for Europe and its citizens is not possible on a depleted planet. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, conflicts over ever scarcer natural resources and health concerns linked to pollution all pose challenges to the EU’s current political agenda. Only integrated solutions will be able to address these,” said Ester Asin, Director at WWF European Policy Office. “The EU elections offer the opportunity to formulate a coherent response. Our proposals for a ‘European Sustainability Pact for a Safer, more Competitive and Responsible EU’ not only outline the threats posed by climate change and environmental degradation, but also the opportunities ahead for Europe’s safety, competitiveness and global reputation. These can be unlocked by coherent EU climate and environment action,” she continued.
In its call for action, WWF emphasises that continued economic and political stability, job creation and global relevance of the EU will largely depend on boosting investment in the sustainable blue and green economy sectors, which will be at the heart of tomorrow’s economy. Political representatives will also need to combat climate change and halt environmental degradation through ambitious EU standards and laws, if they are serious about improving European and global safety.
On an institutional level, WWF is calling for a European Commission Vice-President for Climate Action and Natural Resources to oversee the transition to a truly sustainable Europe and ensure policy coherence, as well as for improvements to the European Parliament’s working methods to better integrate environmental considerations in key EU policies.
These and others are the recommendations are at the heart of the four goals WWF is setting out for EU action in the coming years.