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Europe must put people and planet first

Brussels, 16 September – As the EU-27 gather in Bratislava today, leading environmental organisations call for genuinely transformational change in the wake of the UK referendum [1].

Nine of the largest environmental organisations active on the European level called on the leaders of the EU institutions Presidents Juncker, Tusk, Schulz and Prime Minister Fico to set Europe on a path that answers the needs and aspirations of European citizens [2]. Instead of focussing on promoting globalisation, the EU should direct its efforts towards managing its impacts on the planet and ensuring that all citizens can live a good and healthy life, well within the planetary boundaries, according to the organisations.

Friends of the Earth Director Magda Stoczkiewicz, on behalf of the organisations, said: “It is time for the EU to lead an agenda of transformational change that puts the health and interests of people and the planet first. This should be guided by the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris climate deal.

This week’s State of the Union speech by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker set a disappointing tone, praising CETA, the proposed EU-Canada trade deal, and placing no emphasis on the environment or sustainability [3].

The call for a new positive vision of Europe is echoed by Jacques Delors, a previous President of the European Commission, and a group of 177 civil society organisations and trade unions [4].

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Ahead of the summit, 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions came together to publish a common statement.


[1] The informal summit of the 27 EU leaders to have a "deeper reflection" on the future of the EU is supposed to address the growing gap between the citizens and the EU in the wake of the UK referendum.

Green 10 priorities for Bratislava Informal Summit:

[2] This statement was signed by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network, European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Greenpeace European Unit, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Naturefriends International, European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), and the WWF European Policy Office.

[3] State of the Union Address 2016: Towards a better Europe - a Europe that protects, empowers and defends:

[4] EurActiv: Restoring a Europe built on values for its youth -

Last updated on 27 September 2016

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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