S&D40 can take the lead on progressive thinking and planning for EU’s future

Date

12 Jun 2015

Sections

Development Policy
Euro & Finance
Trade & Society

In the European Parliament committee meetings, we find ourselves discussing at length subtleties of the ETS market, detailed fishing agreements with third parties or various requirements for the labelling of various products, but we don't discuss at all the most important subject for our world - including our Union: the future. Yet we involuntarily shape this future by the sum of effects we generate through our small-impact, short-term decisions; and in the end it might not be the shape we desire. I belong to the progressive generation which wishes to take control of the future - by thoroughly planning for it today.

After years of attempts to restore economic growth, the EU still finds itself tangled up in borderline stagnation and struggling to come up with investment plans which promise to put us back on track.

Numerous versions regarding the cause of the financial and economic crisis have been discussed and they all share a common ground: acting without taking into account the long-term consequences, the lack of thorough planning.

While disregarding social, economic or political imperatives is obviously a misleading and adventurous path, I believe that a large number of problems we are facing, as individuals, as institutions, as societies lie in the fact that we have stopped giving serious consideration to the future. I’m not talking about factoring in the possibility of unexpected events – but the debate of the models we are trying to build, the economic system we are trying to uphold, the rights we believe that need to be protected, the relationship with the environment we need to foster.

Many of the challenges we are currently facing are not unpredictable – they are the direct result of the short-sightedness with which we have started to look at society and politics. Works such as the 1972 The Limits of Growth or that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have become a rarity and are seldom ignored when discussing public policies.

This is why I came up, as coordinator of the S&D40 Group, with the proposal of setting up a Committee for the Future within the European Parliament and at national level across the EU. The Committee’s main goal would be to debate, plan and create strategies essential for our development, while taking into consideration all the long-term effects of proposed policies. These would refer to issues such as combating climate change, the impact of new technologies on Education and Healthcare systems, the rights of employees in an increasingly globalized labor market, durable development of our cities, transportation solutions and so on.

A Committee for the Future is not necessarily a new idea. Current EU Commissioner Jyrki Katainen led the works of the Finnish Parliament’s own Committee for the Future, which helped boost the country into a European leading position in terms of technology.

On May the 23rd, at our first major meeting as S&D40 organized in Athens thanks to our colleague Eva Kaili, I publicly launched this proposal and I immediately obtained the support of young S&D MEPs. I strongly believe that setting up a Committee for the Future within the European Parliament can be a central project of our network which gathers the under 40 years old MEPs part of the S&D group. It is natural for the political group with the largest number of young MEPs – the S&D – to take the lead on progressive thinking and planning for the future.

By promoting projects such as the Committee for the Future, we can prove that we represent a new wave of European politicians, more engaged, more active, more future-oriented and with more relevance on the political scene of the European Union.

Victor Negrescu MEP

Coordinator of S&D40