The challenges Europe is facing today are unprecedented. A rise in nationalism, driven by a loss of citizens’ faith in the European project, is threatening to overturn democratic values and undermine social and political stability. At the same time, the scale of the environmental crisis, with the climate emergency and unparalleled biodiversity loss, points to a systemic failure of the underlying predominant economic model.
The legitimate concerns over climate change and the environment on the one hand, and democratic values on the other, were at the top of the agenda of many voters in the recent European elections. The outcome of these elections, to some extent, is a direct translation of the urgency felt among many European citizens, in particular the youth. These voters point to the urgency of addressing our numerous economic, social, environmental and political challenges.
The Civil Society Days 2019, which focused on Democracy and Sustainability, were thus a very timely occasion for civil society organisations to address these key issues at six workshops and two plenary sessions.
Around 250 citizens from across Europe, with backgrounds in civil society, policymaking, business and education participated in this year’s event, which was prepared by 16 European civil society networks in cooperation with the EESC.
Based on the conclusions of the 6 workshops recommendations to the European institutions were concluded and can be found here.