On 9 May, Europe Day, the 27 Heads of State and Government of the European Union met informally in Sibiu (Romania) at a critical period: two weeks ahead of the European Parliament elections and within the context of the BREXIT. The objective was clear: to reaffirm the unity of the EU. This Summit also aimed at paving the way towards the upcoming meeting of the of the EU Summit , a key step after the elections. Indeed, on 20-21 June, the EU Heads of State and Government should not only adopt the EU Strategic Agenda (2019-2024), but also appoint some of the key European positions like the Presidency of the European Commission.
The Sibiu Declaration
At the end of the Sibiu Summit, the 27 EU leaders adopted the so-called Sibiu Declaration. It is a short text built around 10 commitments, which should guide the future actions of the EU. These commitments underline the EU strong commitment to the founding values and the moto of the EU: unity, diversity, democracy, rights and freedom. They insist on importance of solidarity within the EU as a core principle in key areas like labour market, welfare, economy and digital transformation: “We will further reduce disparities between us and we will always help the most vulnerable in Europe, putting people before politics”.
Last but not least, the Declaration emphasizes the need to work for the future of the next generations and to be ahead of the global challenges.
The EU’s strategic priorities for 2019-2024
The Sibiu Summit is the climax of a process of reflection on the future of the European Union in 2025. This process began in 2017, with the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome: the European Commission presented then five different scenarios for the future of the European Union. (Read our article)
Building on this two-year reflection, the European Commission released its contribution prior to the Sibiu Summit to “prepare for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world”. It highlights the following five dimensions:
- A protective Europe: build an effective and genuine European Security Union and move towards a genuine European Defence Union.
- A competitive Europe: upgrade, modernise and fully implement the single market in all its aspects, including research and innovation on the ecological, social and economic transitions and related societal challenges.
- A fair Europe: continue to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights and work with Member States to achieve social inclusion and equality, including by addressing regional disparities, minorities’ needs, gender issues and the challenge of an ageing population.
- A sustainable Europe: modernise the economy to embrace sustainable consumption and production patterns, reinforce efforts to fight climate change and reverse environmental degradation.
- An influential Europe in the world.
AGE Platform Europe welcomes the commitment of the EU Heads of State and Government in the Sibiu Declaration ‘to protect our way of life, democracy and the rule of law and to uphold the principle of fairness’. Building on this broad pledge, we call on our Governments, the newly elected European Parliament and soon-to-be nominated European Commissioners to do their utmost to rebuild a collective project for the EU integration and identity, based on the shared values that bound EU citizens: social progress, inclusion and solidarity across generations and countries.
AGE will analyse the content of the Strategic Agenda to be adopted in June 2019. We wish it will contain a clear and ambitious implementation plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights, containing a number of rights and principles which can improve social realities in old age, notably the principle 18 for the right to affordable long-term care services.
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