For sure, the Conference on the Future of Europe have proved the will of increasing a direct dialogue between the main EU institutions and European citizens, and other investments are trying to trickle down a more intense relationship in different levels of EU territories, but more diverse and careful practices are needed. And they must involve also candidate countries, which will probably be part of Europe in the next decades, but so far have been partially ignored.
The ecological transition requires an unprecedented push forward, representing the main challenge for Europe and the entire world. From decarbonization to the energetic community, from sustainable mobility to the rethinking of industrial production, this technological and social revolution will show its effect in a plurality of fields. The ecological transition will not impact only the management of economic and environmental resources but also citizens’ lifestyle. More than just disputing the economic model, the idea here is to rebalance the relationship between human beings and the environment, meant both as anthropized and natural.
Thus, the reach of the ecological transition appears therefore historic: while we are not denying the importance of choices of industrial and energetic policies, clearly it is equally important that the environmentalist logic and narratives involve the whole society.
That is why we need to promote new models of democratic, inclusive and permanent participation of citizens in order to succeed in the ecological transition. Most of all, this process should not forget about social vulnerability of people and minorities and should always be guided by the idea that nobody (and no place) has to be left behind.
The ecological transition should therefore imply the involvement not only of the centre – typically the cities, where development and innovation take place – but also consider the periphery, in order to guarantee that such a process would concretely produce an improvement in the living conditions, in the opportunities and in the perspectives of the outsiders: in other words, to make the ecological transition a just transition.
The Eighth Cohesion Report of the European Union clearly states the importance of investing in training, cross-border employment programmes, gender mainstreaming and construction of intergenerational and equality-oriented policies, but it also shows awareness of how much funding is far from being evenly distributed across the EU Member States and regions, including that related to build research and innovation capacity for ‘Widening participation and spreading excellence’ activities that could link the transformation of development direction, to the improvement of the quality of life for citizens.
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