For the second time, we brought representatives from academia, NGOs, grassroots and trade unions together around the topic of a beyond growth society in the EU.
To follow up on our successful Beyond Growth 80-strong civil society gathering in May in Brussels, Friends of the Earth Europe, with the European Environmental Bureau, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and the European Youth Forum, organised a second gathering in early October at the beautiful farm Ecosite de Villarceaux near Paris, France.
Whereas the May gathering was all about the what, this time we focused much more on the how.
How can we reach our goal of an EU society beyond growth? What are our key objectives, especially the coming year with the EU elections and a new EU Commission taking the reins? How do we make sure that the decolonialist and social demands from the majority world communities are the core of our strategy? Is our strategy in line with the urgency of the physical science basis? Do we sufficiently take those groups into account that will try to counterweigh on our strategy?
It was undeniable that a major factor contributing to all participants sharing their most creative ideas and their most inconvenient truths, was being together in person and centring relationships.
We were invited to enter the room not only representing our organisation, but also and perhaps more importantly ourselves. The gathering schedule provided lots of time and space to connect, disconnect, and to move our bodies and minds – from football games to cultural exchanges.
We left the farm with not only new friends, but also fresh hope, motivation, and some concrete plans. Our collective plans range from continuing to institutionalise post-growth policy work, to provide a connecting tissue between different national-level red-green alliances throughout the EU.
- Calling for a Beyond Growth Intergroup to be set up in the European Parliament at the beginning of the next EU cycle (summer 2024).
- The next EU Commission should develop a new EU framework on sustainable resource management with strong demand reduction measures.
- Financial justice is to be achieved through advocacy work on fair taxation, including an EU wealth tax.
We wholeheartedly thank everyone who was involved in this outstanding week.