Investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and fighting climate change at the same time is not an efficient way of using EU tax money. Exacerbating social inequalities through the provision of roughly 80% of the agricultural subsidies to about 20% of the farmers, and then promoting social inclusion in rural areas through rural development funding is another prime example of taxes from European citizens supporting short viewed and contradictory policies.
In 2015 the EU adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which should provide a coherent framework to tackle those incoherencies. Therefore, SDG Watch Europe calls for sustainability proofing the future EU budget in its People’s Budget campaign based on an indivisible set of sustainability principles.
Further inconsistencies range from disregarding health impacts of tobacco and red meat production subsidies to forgetting the social inclusion aspects of energy efficiency investments. Also the narrow focus on measuring added value in the EU through generating economic growth is flawed and disregards the Treaty objective about sustainable development in three dimensions. We want to see new and fresh approaches in defining the EU’s added value, where all dimensions of sustainability are taken into account. We want to see a future budget that measures performance against progress towards sustainability and incentivises the implementation of the SDGs by Member States.
We call for European and national decision makers to involve civil society on the basis of the partnership principle into the full negotiation process and implementation, in order to improve the transparency of the EU budget. We call for increased accountability of the beneficiaries, for instance through innovative digital solutions accessible to each European citizen. Of course there are many other possible solutions to mainstream sustainability and the SDGs into EU spending and lending, and SDG Watch Europe is elaborating suggestions on how to best use them.