Brussels’ residents in the habit of passing by the city’s ‘European quarter’ are used to seeing colourful and creative demonstrations. People from all across Europe regularly convene on the Belgian capital to try and get the ear of EU decision makers.
But even those most seasoned in the quirks of the so-called ‘EU bubble’ will have done a double take this morning if they saw the giant inflatable elephant that was positioned outside the Commission’s Berlaymont building.
Activists used the pink pachyderm to draw Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s attention to the EU’s commitment to meet the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were signed two years ago in New York by 193 governments.
While two years have passed, the EU has not yet adopted any plan on how to achieve the goals in Europe.
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said:
“The EU needs to refocus on delivering the SDGs or the commitments it made two years ago will be shown up as empty rhetoric. We must urgently face up to how our hunger for raw materials is impacting others around the world and commit to substantially reducing our environmental footprint.”
President Juncker made no mention of the SDGs in his State of the Union speech earlier this month which was widely viewed as telling of where the goals lie on his to-do list.
Ingo Ritz, Director of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) said:
“The EU and EU member states agreed with 193 governments in the UN to eradicate poverty and end hunger by 2030. This will be only possible if the EU fulfils its commitments for global cooperation, makes its agriculture and trade policies sustainable for people and planet and ends the overconsumption of natural resources.”