European Commission’s Reflection Paper on a Sustainable Europe by 2030 is out!

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On 30 January, the European Commission has finally presented its long-awaited reflection paper on implementing the 2030 Agenda in the EU, which was originally expected in the first half of 2018. The paper, titled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030‘, discusses the key policy foundations and horizontal enablers needed to achieve a sustainable Europe by 2030. In addition, the paper presents and analyses three possible scenarios that could shape a Union-wide strategy on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and namely: (i) an overarching SDG strategy to guide all the actions of the EU and its member states; (ii) a continued mainstreaming of the SDGs in the policies of the Commission, without enforcement at the member states’ level; and (iii) a consolidation of existing policies, coupled with an increased focus on the SDGs in the external action of the EU.

In its preliminary assessment of the paper, the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) has welcomed the urgency and wide scope of the Commission’s work, while also emphasising that only the adoption of the first proposed scenario would be able to deliver on the EU’s commitments by 2030. Moreover, the IEEP recommended a series of concrete policy actions that would be required to implement (and improve upon) the policy foundations and horizontal enablers identified by the Commission.