Delivering a sustainable, durable, and inclusive recovery for Europe

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Delivering a sustainable, durable, and inclusive recovery for Europe

The EU faces an extremely challenging set of circumstances. Beyond immediate health concerns, the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures taken in response to it have seen EU GDP and employment go down by 11.4% and 2.7% respectively in the second quarter of 2020.

This has exacerbated existing social and regional inequalities. These impacts have also occurred at a time when the EU already faced growing pressures from climate change and environmental degradation, large public debt burdens in some countries and European citizens re-evaluating the benefits of EU membership.

However, recovering from this major economic crisis also provides the EU with the opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of the economy and to put in place the foundations for a durable, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable recovery.

To seize this opportunity, the EU and its Member States must learn from the mistakes which followed the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, where most G20 countries failed to transform their economies for the better. The recovery approaches then adopted by many developed economies saw very little focus on investment, an emphasis on cutting public spending and very weak links to sustainability. The result was low productivity growth, high levels of unemployment, high public debt, rising social inequality and a rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the years following the crisis.

This paper takes the scientific, environmental and health arguments in favour of a green recovery and achieving climate neutrality by mid-century as a given. The aim of this paper is to focus primarily on the additional economic and employment arguments that support the development of a recovery strategy that is aligned with the EU’s climate and environmental goals. However, important social issues such as those related to regional inequalities and a ‘Just Transition’ are also considered in this paper.

Delivering a sustainable, durable and inclusive recovery for Europe

A breakfast briefing to launch the Think2030 paper ‘Delivering a sustainable, durable and inclusive recovery for Europe’, written by the Aldersgate Group’s executive director Nick Molho.

The paper focuses primarily on the additional economic and employment arguments that support the development of a recovery strategy that is aligned with the EU’s climate and environmental goals.

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