Note: the text below is the introduction to the communication.
Sustainable development has since long been at the heart of the European project. The EU Treaties give recognition to its economic, social and environmental dimensions which should be addressed together. The EU is committed to development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A life of dignity for all within the planet's limits that reconciles economic prosperity and efficiency, peaceful societies, social inclusion and environmental responsibility is at the essence of sustainable development.
European societies today face many sustainability challenges from youth unemployment to ageing populations, climate change, pollution, sustainable energy and migration. We must tackle current challenges and prepare for the future, responding to the pace and complexity of global change and the demands of an increasing global population. To preserve the European social model and social cohesion, it is essential to invest in our young people, foster inclusive and sustainable growth, tackle inequalities and manage well migration. Pursuing responsible fiscal policies and implementing reforms will strengthen the sustainability of our healthcare and pension systems. To preserve our natural capital, it is crucial to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient, resource efficient and circular economy. For these challenges to become opportunities for new businesses and new jobs, a strong engagement in research and innovation is needed.