A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Common statement signed by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions, ahead of the EU27 Summit in Bratislava on 16 September 2016.

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all 

Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the k ind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people? 

Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations. 

Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need? 


Reject populist solutions 

This crisis in confidence comes as people struggle with decreasing living standards, declining buying power and the rise of precarious work, hardship created by austerity policies, anxiety over movements of people to our shores, and the impacts of climate change and environmental destruction. As people search for answers, euroscepticism and nationalism, intolerance and misinformation are winning out over cooperation, humanity and solidarity with one other. We must all – leaders, media and individuals – actively and at every opportunity speak out and act against division, marginalisation of different groups in society and those that play on fears for their own political ends. 

Tackle challenges together 

Many of the challenges facing Europe – such as inequalities, climate change, natural resource depletion, and a global economy that benefits the few and not the many – are better tackled together than by countries individually. 

The European Union, which embodies international cooperation and collaboration, needs to be leading in ensuring sustainable and inclusive development, advancing human rights, and allowing for dignified movements of people, where refugees are welcome and all people feel safe. 

Fight for a sustainable, social Europe for people and for our planet 

There needs to be a decisive and transformational change in political will, direction and policy. Such a vision is provided in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in whi ch people, social justice, environmental and health protection, democracy and transparency tak e centre stage . Guided by this agenda, EU economic policies need to go hand in hand with strong social and environmental policies. The EU single market and international policies must promote enforceable rules to protect workers, consumers, all citizens – men and women, young and old – and the planet. EU policies must support democracy, dialogue and more equality within and beyond the EU. We need a Europe that aims at improving the living standards of every one. 


Work for better Europe, not less Europe 

The current tendency to weaken EU institutions and to strip away protections for people and planet in the name of ‘deregulation’ is not the answer. Current economic policies of reducing deficits and boosting ‘competitiveness’ have promoted too narrow an interpretation of growth, and corporate profits have failed to make it into workers’ wages or trickle down to improve people’s lives. 

It is these policies, not ‘too much Europe’, that have alienated people, leaving them feeling disempowered and left behind. We now need new, progressive European initiatives to deliver tangible benefits for people and to win back their confidence and trust. A ‘better Europe’ is where joint European action creates tangible benefits for people and planet. This includes a new focus on equality and inclusion, a relaunch of the European social model to provide decent work , quality jobs and better living conditions, strong environmental protecti on, meaningful action on climate change, and an EU -wide effort to welcome and integrate migrants. 


Listen and engage 

EU leaders, prime ministers, presidents, chancellors and parliamentarians must listen and engage actively with citizens of all ages and social back grounds to understand and respond better to people’s concerns and propose a new, positive vision of Europe. Everyone, perhaps most importantly the young, needs to be more actively involved in decisions that have an impact on our future. Together, we can take the decisions and actions on the issues that matter. 

Make the case for Europe 

We need a genuine, democratic and inclusive dialogue on the future of Europe, and on how the EU can deliver tangible benefits for Europeans. We stand ready to play an active role in this dialogue, and to work even harder in making the case for the benefits that work ing together have brought to European citizens, and the values for which this Union stands.

This common statement was drafted on the initiative of WWF, CONCORD, ETUC and European Youth Forum, and supported by the 177 signatories below. 

European and International signatories 

ACT Alliance EU 

ActionAid International 


Africa e Mediterraneo 

AGE Platform Europe 

ANME - Association for Natural Medicine in Europe 

BirdLife Europe 


CARE International 
Civil Society Europe 

Climate Action Network Europe 

COFACE Families Europe 


Culture Action Europe 

Don Bosco International 

Don Bosco Youth Network West Africa 

Dynamo International - Réseau International des 

Travailleurs sociaux de rue 



ENAR - European Network Against Racism 

ENNA - European Network of National Civil 

Society Associations 

ENSIE - European Network of Social Integration 


ERGO Network 

Eurocadres – Council of European Professional 

and Manageral Staff 




European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) 

European Central Council of Homeopaths 

European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) 

European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) 

European Disability Forum 

European Environmental Bureau 

European Federation of Building and Woodworkers 

European Federation of Public Service Unions 

European Humanist Federation 

European Institute Foundation 

European Institute of Women’s Health 

European Medical Students' Association 

European Movement International 

European Network for Smoking and Tobacco 

Prevention (ENSP) 

European Parents' Association 

European Public Health Alliance 

European Race and Imagery Foundation (ERIF) 

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

European Transport Safety Council 

European Transport Workers' Federation 

European Volunteer Centre (CEV) 

European Women's Lobby 

European Youth Forum 

Fair Trade Advocacy Office 


Fédération Européenne des Femmes Actives en Famille 

FEMS - European Federation Salaried Doctors 

Friends of the Earth Europe 

Fundación Jóvenes y Desarrollo 


HEAL - Health and Environment Alliance 

Housing Europe 

IBFAN Africa 

IBFAN Europe 


ICSW - International Council on Social Welfare 

IFSW-Europe - International Federation of Social Workers Europe 


ILGA-Europe - European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association 

International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) 

International Disability and Development 

Consortium (IDDC) 

International Federation of Medical Students' 

Associations (IFMSA) 

International Planned Parenthood Federation 

European Network 

International Union of Tenants (IUT) 

Light for the World International 

Mental Health Europe 

Migrant Tales 

Misiones Salesianas 

Naturefriends International 

Network of European LGBTIQ* Families 

Associations (NELFA) 

Oxfam International 

PICUM - Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants 

Plan International 

Social Platform 


SOS Children's Villages International 

The Club of Rome EU-Chapter 

The European Federation of Older Persons - 


The Oslo Times 

The Salvation Army EU Affairs Office 

Transport & Environment 

UNI Europa 


World Vision 


YES Forum 


National and regional signatories 

ACT Grupa 

Active Retirement Ireland 

AEPADO - European Association for the Defense 

of Human Rights 

Alaturi de Voi Romania Foundation 

Albanian Society for All Ages (ASAG) 

All Ears TM 

arbeit plus - Social Integration Enterprises Austria 

Artenave Atelier - Associação de Solidariedade 

Asociación Nacional Presencia Gitana 


ATDAL Over40 

Ateliere Fara Frontiere 

Atelierul de panza SRL 

Ateljee vzw 

Baby Milk Action/IBFAN UK 


BirdLife Finland 

BirdWatch Ireland 

Bulgarian Red Cross 

CEIPES Belgium 

Centar za životnu sredinu/FoE Bosnia and 


Center for Equality Advancement 

Centre for Peace Studies, Zagreb 

CHEN, patient fertiltiy association, Israel 

Conference of Religious of Ireland and Irish 

Missionary Union 

Conseil de la Jeunesse 

Consorzio di cooperative sociali EVT 

Consorzio Sociale Abele Lavoro 

Coordination SUD 


Cultúr Migrants Centre 

Czech Society for Ornithology 

De Omslag 


ENEA apa 

Estonian Green Movement 

Estonian Human Rights Centre 

FAEDEI - Federación de Asociaciones 

Empresariales de Empresas de Inserción 

FATEC (Federació d'Associacions de Gent Gran de 


Federació d'Organitzacions Catalanes de Gent 

Gran, Dones i Família - FOCAGG 

Fédération des entreprises d'insertion 

Filipino Women's Council 

FONSS – Federatia Organizatiilor 

Neguvernamentale pentru Servicii Sociale din 


France Nature Environnement 

Friends of the Earth Cyprus 

Friends of the Earth Finland - Maan ystävät ry 

Fundació Trinijove 

Generation 2.0 Rights, Equality & Diversity 

Generation Earth 

Hellenic Ornithological Society 

Initiative for Development and Cooperation 

Inter Environnement Wallonie 


KISA - Action for Equality, Support, Anti-Racism 

Latvian Ornithological Society 

Liga para a Protecção da Natureza 

Lipu BirdLife Italy 

Mayo Intercultural Action 

NABU - Nature and Biodiversity Conservation 

Union (German partner of Birdlife International) 

National Youth Council of Ireland 



Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities 



Polish Society for the Protection of Birds 

QED Foundation 

RESIT - Rede de Empresas Sociais de Inserção 

pelo Trabalho 

Roma Community Centre Vilnius 

Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control 

Social Firms England 

SOF – BirdLife Sverige 

SOS/BirdLife Slovakia 

Sport Against Racism Ireland 

SST vzw 

Stichting Laka 

Tallinn Children's Hospital Foundation 

The Integraiton and Support Unit 

türkiye emekliler derneği 

BirdLife The Netherlands 

volare a s.stefano 

WERVEL - Working Group for a Fair and Responsible Agriculture 

Youth for Human Rights Denmark 

Združenie Slatinka