Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030

Towards a sustainable Europe by 2030

Posted on February 1, 2019

As part of the debate on the future of Europe, launched with the Commission’s White Paper of 1 March 2017, the Commission has now published a Reflection Paper on a Sustainable Europe by 2030.

Announced as a follow-up to President Juncker’s 2017 State of the Union Address, this Reflection Paper is part of the EU’s commitment to deliver on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By reviewing the breadth of challenges for Europe and presenting illustrative scenarios for the future, the Paper seeks to steer the discussion on how these goals can be best achieved and how the European Union can best contribute by 2030. Building on what has been achieved in recent years, the three scenarios put forward in this paper (An overarching EU SDGs strategy guiding the actions of the EU and its Member States; A continued mainstreaming of the SDGs in all relevant EU policies by the Commission, but not enforcing Member States’ action; An enhanced focus on external action while consolidating current sustainability ambition at EU level) highlight that further action is needed if the EU and the world are to secure a sustainable future in the interest of citizens’ well-being.

Even though the EU has become a frontrunner in sustainability over the last years, a lot still needs to be done, knowing that the EU faces complex, changing and pressing challenges, as demographic change, migration, inequality, economic and social convergence. As regards health, and in particular the nursing profession, challenges on education, workforce (increasing shortage in staff, bringing more and more workload for the ones in post), cuts in salaries, quality & safety of care, are of high concerns. As such, it is key that health remains a priority in the EU political agenda.

To keep on ensuring universal health coverage in the EU, health systems will need to be resilient to future evolutions, ensure accessibility and effectiveness. A shift to a model that places greater emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion, is more personalised and capitalises on digital technologies will be needed, as well as strengthening primary care and the development of patient-centred integrated care. Investing in health and social care is a key strategy to embrace EU citizens’ values and principles, such as solidarity, equity and participation. Investing in people’s health promotes a healthier population being able to live independently and to actively participate in the labour market. As such, it is crucial to foster the added value of health as a driver of well-being, productivity and growth. Influencing people’s health can be achieved by promoting a healthier lifestyle for individuals and communities through the increase of their health literacy and the positive influence on their determinants of health, such as physical environment, social network or equitable access to health and social services.

The current EU initiatives, as the European Pillar on Social Rights, the State of Health in the EU reporting cycle, digital transformation in healthcare, Research & Innovation, AI, to name a few, are some of the topics the EFN is following to take this issue to the next level, and make sure the nurses concerns and voice are taken into account in this debate.