The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Common appeal to European leaders signed by 237 European Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions 


The Europe we want: just, sustainable, democratic and inclusive


As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.

We must not fail to appreciate how far Europe has come since 1957, when we were a handful of nations determined to emerge from the ashes of World War II and to move towards a peaceful and united common future. Today, the European Union is the largest and most successful peace initiative of our time, a place where Europeans find richness in cultural differences and strength in common values and aspirations, enjoying greater stability, safety and prosperity than in many other places in the world.

But we cannot afford to be complacent: much still needs to be done to construct a sustainable world for current and future generations. While we have seen much progress, the promise of those early days has still not been fully achieved and we have entered an era in which the values at the very heart of Europe – democracy and participation, equality and social justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law and human rights – are being undermined. Citizens are questioning the raison d’être of the European Union, the legitimacy of governments and mainstream politics, and the ability of existing governance structures to respond to society’s most pressing challenges. As a result, trust in public institutions is in decline.

In these uncertain times, European citizens seek a stronger focus on those core ‘European values’, not a reduced one. They seek economic, social and environmental well-being.  Economic well-being in the form of prosperity for all and the redistribution of wealth. Social well-being in the provision of quality, affordable services for all and a reinforcing of the social fabric which binds us together. Environmental well-being residing in a healthy natural environment that sustains all life on Earth and protects our clean water and air.

We therefore call on you, leaders of Europe, to move away from an economic model which has widened inequalities and rather to invest in a ‘social market economy’ that works for the benefit of all people. With poverty and social exclusion at unacceptably high levels, we must return to more inclusive economic policies which ensure that Europe’s prosperity is shared, without harming the planet.

We call on you to uphold our core values and invest in employment and education based on critical thinking in order to defend our open, democratic societies and  to address the sense of insecurity felt by many. We call on you, leaders of Europe, to ensure that gender equality, human rights, freedom of religion, democracy and the rule of law are fully implemented and upheld, both at EU and national level. We want to see a more hospitable Europe where everyone’s contribution is welcome and migration is recognised as a boon to society, not a drain.

Europe also needs to play its part in tackling global challenges. Climate change in particular is an existential risk to our world and it must be tackled not only for environmental reasons, but also to prevent the escalation of conflict, hunger, and forced migration.

Building on our call for ‘A New Europe for People, Planet and Prosperity for All’ (September 2016), we are seizing the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to reaffirm our belief in European integration and to offer concrete proposals for the EU Heads of State and Government as they consider the future of Europe.

United, we call for:

  • A Europe that promotes and protects the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of everyone and supports those beyond its borders to realise their rights;
  • The delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by putting the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles that underpin it at the core of EU and national policy-making;
  • The full implementation of the Paris Agreement by enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the just and sustainable transition to clean and affordable renewable energy in order to keep global warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to keep it to 1.5°C;
  • A strengthening of our representative and participatory democracy, with distinct space for people’s participation beyond elections, enabling a diverse civil society to flourish;
  • A strengthening of education as a public responsibility that offers lifelong learning for all in order to develop active citizenship, critical thinking, social inclusion and an awareness of sustainable development and human rights;
  • A just transition for workers and industrial regions from the current economic model to a modern, vibrant, green and socially just economy in which our human and natural capital is cherished;
  • A European Social Model that provides full protection to all workers, all consumers and all people living in the EU; one that reverses the wealth gap and reduces poverty and social exclusion;
  • A European Union with a strong social rights pillar, which ensures quality employment and fair pay, and addresses inequalities between women and men, discrimination against children and youth or based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, age, disability, minority or other status.

In the face of a world that is changing faster than ever before, European unity and solidarity are just as important now as they were 60 years ago. Solidarity brought us together and solidarity is the only way forward.  None of the current challenges can be solved by one nation or one group of people alone.

However, there is an urgent need for the European Union and its institutions to reconnect with the realities, dreams and hopes of its citizens if the long-term relevance and survival of our Union are to be secured. Now is the time to rethink the direction in which we are travelling, build on our achievements and lay the foundations for the next 60 years of European integration.

We expect you, as the leaders of Europe, to do just that: to have the courage and the vision to lead the transition to a just, sustainable, democratic and inclusive Europe. We expect you to listen to the people of Europe and to use the occasion of the Rome Summit to make a strong, joint commitment to a better, more sustainable future.






European Movement International

European Women’s Lobby

European Youth Forum

ACT Alliance EU



AEGEE / European Students' Forum

AGE Platform Europe

Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de l'Homme

AIACE - Ass.EU Institutions former staff

AIIG – Associazione Italiana Insegnanti di Geografia

Albanian National Youth Network (ANYN)

ALDA - European Association for Local Democracy

Alianza por la Solidaridad

All Ears


Associació CEN

Association for Natural Medicine in Europe-ANME

Association Žmergo

Babylon Couleurs

Berufsörderungsinstitut Oberösterreich- Institute for Vocational Advancement Upper Austria

Better Regulation Watchdog Network



BirdLife Austria

BirdLife Europe and Central Asia

BirdLife Finland

BirdLife Malta


Brod Ecological Society -BED


Bulgarian platform of the EWL

Bureau for the Implementation of Equal Treatment BUG

Carbon Market Watch

CARE International

cats2cats z.s.

CEE Bankwatch Network

CEEweb for Biodiversity

Centre of Resources for Social Inclusion CRIS

Centro Turistico Studentesco - CTS

Cercle de Coopération des ONG de développement asbl

Českomoravská konfederace odborových svazů

Change Partnership


Clean Air Action Group


Climate Action Network Europe

Climate Action Network France - Réseau Action Climat France

COFACE Families Europe

Collective Again Islamophobia in Belgium (CCIB asbl)

Comité 21

Comité Stop TAFTA Luxembourg

Concord Italia

Confederatia Nationala Sindicala "Cartel ALFA"

Confederation of Labour PODKREPA, Bulgaria

Coordination SUD

Corporate Social Responsibility Europe


Culture Action Europe

Dansk Ornitologisk Forening BirdLife Danmark

De Omslag

Democratic Women's League (Germany)

Deutscher Naturschutzring - Dachverband der deutschen Natur-, Tier- und Umweltschutzorganisationen


Don Bosco International

DOPPS-BirdLife Slovenia

Društvo Ekologi brez meja



Eesti Ornitoloogiaühing - BirdLife Estonia


ENAR - European Network Against Racism

ENPA – Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali

ERGO Network


Estonian Human Rights Centre




Euroean Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB)



European Anti Poverty Network

European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI)

European Disability Forum

European Environmental Bureau

European Friends of Armenia

European Humanist Federation

European Movement Albania

European Movement in Belgium

European Movement France

European Movement Germany

European Movement Italy

European Movement Macedonia

European Movement Montenegro

European Movement Norway

European Movement Poland

European Movement Serbia

European Movement Spain

European Movement Switzerland

European Movement Turkey

European Parents' Association


European Race & Imagery Foundation

European Water Pact

Europeanmovement, Denmark

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Federació d'Organitzacions Catalanes de Gent Gran, Dones i Família

Federazione Pro Natura

FEICAT – Empreses d’Inserció de Catalunya

FIACAT (International Federation of ACAT)

FIAB - Federazione Italiana Amici della Bicicletta

Finance Watch


okus Czech Republic

Fondation EURACTIV #Media4EU

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS)

Friends of the Earth Europe

Fundación Jóvenes y Desarrollo

Fundacja "Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE"

Fundacja Żagle Europa Świat


Generation Earth

Geremek Foundation

Gilliane Le Gallic

Green 10


Grup de Natura Freixe

Gruppi di  Intervento Giuridico

Gruppi di Ricerca Ecologica

Gypsy Council East of England

HEAL (Health and Environment Alliance)

Health and Trade Network

Housing Europe

ILGA-Europe - European Region of the International LGBTI Association

Initiatitv Liewensufank asbl


International Disability and Development Consortium

International Federation of Medical Students' Associations

International Partnership for Human Rights

Internationaler Bund (IB)

Internationaler Bund e.V., Thiemo Fojkar

INU - Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica

JEF Europe - Young European Federalists

KISA - Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism


Kosovar Civil Society Foundation

La Fédération des entreprises d'insertion

Landsorganisationen i Sverige (LO)

Latvian Fund for Nature

Lifelong Learning Platform

Light for the World

Light for the World International

Lipu - BirdLife Italy

Lithuanian women's lobby organization

Lobby Europeo de Mujeres LEM España

Make Mothers Matter EU Delegation


merowa junior school

Migrant Tales

Mouvement Ecologique

Mountain Wilderness

NABU, the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union

Name of organisation as you want it to appear on statement

National Youth Council of Ireland

Naturfreunde Internationale

Naturschutzbund Deutschland

Natuurpunt vzw

Nederlandse Vrouwen Raad (Dutch Women's Council)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee


Oxfam International

Pan African Movement for Justice

Pasaules Dabas Fonds

PICUM - Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants

Plan International

PODKREPA Youth Network

Polska Fundacja im. Roberta Schumana


Project AWARE


Public Institution Roma Community Centre

Quercus- Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza

Radio Afrika TV

RES asbl

Rangers d’Italia

Roma Active Albania

Roma Association Zagreb and Zagreb County

Save the Children


Seas At Risk

ŠENT - Slovenian Association for Mental Health



SIGEA – Società Italiana di Geologia Ambientale

SLOGA, Slovenian NGDO platform for development cooperation and humanitarian aid

Social Platform

Society for Sustainable Development Design


Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland

SOS/BirdLife Slovakia

Stichting Ocan

Stop TAFTA Luxembourg

Terre des Hommes

The Cezch Helsinski Committee

The Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU, Kehys

The Latvian Anglers Association

The Oslo Times

The Salvation Army, EU Affairs Office

Transparency International EU

Transport & Environment

Touring Club Italiano - TCI


Türkiye emekliler derneği


UNI Europa

Union Sindical Obrera (USO)


VAM Foundation (women and labormarket)

VAS - Verdi Ambiente e Società

Vogelbescherming Nederland



WECF France

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Women for Water Partnership

Women's international league for peace and freedom/WILPF

World Future Council

World Vision

WWF European Policy Office


Youth for Human Rights Denmark

Zeleni Osijek

Zero Waste International



[1] Please contact Geneviève Pons ([email protected]), Director of WWF European Policy Office, who led the

involvement of the Green 10 on this common statement