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More than ever, people in Europe and everywhere understand that with solidarity and cooperation we can overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Together, we can make another European and global future, one that is more socially, economically and environmentally resilient. The question to all of us is: what world do we want to return to?
With this plan we call on each and every one of us to come together, to harness the incredible collective wealth of material and intellectual resources of the people in Europe, to turn the recovery from this unprecedented crisis into the most ambitious social, economic and environmental transformation the World has ever seen.
For this to be realised, we need to act now to launch a sustainable recovery that ensures our health systems can continue to cope and that Europe leads in disaster preparedness and prevention. No effort should be spared in putting patients and frontline workers first and to ensure treatments and vaccines are available and affordable for all.
Any recovery plan must put ordinary people and the future of our planet at its’ core. A fundamental change to the functioning of our economy is now needed. This is not the time to reward big companies and their shareholders for continuing the harmful practices of the past. Instead, those receiving public financial support must commit to align their economic activities to the objective of limiting global warming under 1.5°C. CEOs’ salaries should be capped and dividends, bonuses or to buy back shares should not be allowed for at least the next 2 years. Public bailouts should also be excluded for companies avoiding paying tax through fiscal dumping or by having subsidiaries in tax havens.
To forge new resilient future we need an economy that serves everyone and is more in harmony with our fragile planet. The Green Deal must be front and centre of our recovery strategy, to create quality jobs and so that our economy is made to serve a more just and more sustainable society. It would be a tragic failure of leadership and vision not to seize the moment to act decisively and collectively to build the greener, resilient, fairer, gender equal, more stable and inclusive democratic EU that we need.
We call for a massive sustainable investment plan by mobilizing 5 trillion euros over the next 12 years. We propose fundamental changes to the labour market, including the banning of zero-hour contracts, the end of in-work poverty and universal social support schemes. A Care Deal for Europe can refocus our energy on care, social and education services, revising of our work-life balance rules, our housing supply, and protecting the most vulnerable, whomever they are.
This crisis finds its very origin in our broken relationship with the natural world. Deforestation, wildlife trafficking and human encroachment on natural habitats are just some of the contributing factors to the spread of new zoonotic viruses like Covid-19. Environmental degradation, in particular air pollution, further worsened our ability to recover. We must recommit to protecting and creating an abundant, healthy natural world, which in turn will protect us. As part of the Recovery Package, the Green Deal must kick-start the transformation of our economy to ensure all sectors are put on a path towards climate-neutrality. Restoring global biodiversity and ending pollution must become an EU priority. We propose a new relationship with how we produce and consume food, build and renovate buildings, power our homes, travel and transport goods. For our collective survival, and that of our planet, these changes are no longer luxuries, but necessities.
Lastly, at home and abroad, democracies and human rights are under threat. The EU must actively oppose heavy-handed measures to curb civil liberties and the global autocratic wave. The digital revolution must be channeled for the public good and must leave no one behind.
We will emerge from this crisis stronger and wiser together. A better future is possible. Now is the time to seize it.