By Nick Meynen, EEB
When 238 economists wrote an open letter calling on policymakers in Europe to end policies that aim for GDP growth, it was published by media in 16 countries across Europe. In the same week, the European Parliament hosted a major conference on post-growth, with the support from 8 MEPs from 5 political groups. EEB’s petition on wemove.eu/postgrowth (based on the open letter) has secured support from almost 100.000 Europeans. In addition, major labor unions have shown their support to the letter and petition. People, experts, elected representatives and a wide range of civil society organisations all say we urgently need to move beyond the green growth narrative and get to grips with a post-growth world.
The EEB is taking a leading role in making policy makers aware of this need. At the bi-annual growth in transition conference in Vienna in November, EEB’s EU Director Patrick ten Brink gave First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans the petition, which includes demands such as transforming the Stability and Growth Pact into a Stability and Wellbeing Pact and putting social and environmental indicators of progress before GDP. The EEB and Austrian EEB member EU-Umweltbüro also co-organised a debate with economists, civil society and representatives from big business and big cities on the positive pathways to a post-growth society. They identified key leverage points on HOW to make progress in the transition to a sustainable society for all, and are in the process of fine-tuning their demands. This work in progress will see the light of day ahead of the next elections.