Locals are calling for a just transition to a clean and safe future. Photo: Greg McNevin

An economy by the people, for the people (and planet)

The European Union needs to shift towards an economic model built around the wellbeing of people and the planet, concluded the participants at an EEB-organised event.

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) co-organised a workshop at this year’s Civil Society Days, an annual two-day conference hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Organised in collaboration with the Social Platform and the European Foundation Centre, the theme of the event focused on transition to an economy for people and planet.

The keynote speaker was renowned ecological economist Tim Jackson, the author of Prosperity Without Growth, who stressed the need for a future based on wellbeing.

 The workshop came at a crucial moment for Europe, with the new European Parliament set to convene and a new European Commission on the way.

Nick Meynen, EEB policy officer for ecological economics and environmental justice, facilitated a breakout session to prepare recommendations for policy-makers. The group decided to ask the European Council to transform the Stability and Growth Pact into a Sustainability and Wellbeing Pact. They also urged the European Investment Bank and the European Central Bank to treat money as a public social good and to work on currency innovation.

The group also came up with demands to incoming MEPs and the European Commission. These included creating decentralised citizen assemblies that would formulate policy proposals on economic system change, postgrowth and just transition, as well as a establishing Directorate-General for Wellbeing and Future Generations .

EEB Secretary-General Jeremy Wates closed the event with a reference to the ‘green wave’ at the European elections as a great opportunity. “We can build a better, greener, fairer Europe,” he insisted.


Wates said that sustainability should become the main guiding principle of the new Commission and the current economic model should be reformed. The need for a multi-stakeholder engagement, including civil society, is greater than ever.


The final recommendations from Civil Society Days are available here.