Beyond Growth in Brussels: what do eco-social politics look like?

At the occasion of the Beyond Growth Conference at the European Parliament in May, Commons Network organized the first roundtable with national Member of national Parliaments and trade union representatives on national post-growth policies and strategies which was a great success. On the 8th of December, Commons Network is organizing a second roundtable, this time on the topic of eco-social policies. The event is part of a larger follow-up event from the Beyond Growth Conference in May.

Roundtable on national strategies for welfare beyond growth 

Over the last three months, the Commons Network’s team has been collaborating with Oxfam Novib, the Green European Foundation and Philippe Lamberts’ team to organize this second roundtable. The event will be hosted by two Members of the European Parliament from the Greens/EFA group, Sara Mathieu and Gwendoline Delbos Corfield. This roundtable will specifically focus on building a welfare state beyond growth, zooming in on the strategy for eco-social policies at the national level.

Picture from first Roundtable event – 17th of May in the European Parliament, Brussels

How can we unsettle the narrative that ecologically destructive economic growth is needed to sustain strong welfare policies? The idea that we need to pick our battles between social justice and climate justice is misleading. It condemns us to be unambitious with regards to ecological policies or to implement socially harmful policies in the name of climate. Degrowth research and proposals offer a framework for reducing growth-dependency while increasing social wellbeing and public provision. The fair distribution of wealth, power and resources, the decommodification and provision of universal basic services, centering community practices of care and post-growth public finance are some of the strategies that this perspective puts forth. We would like to provide our participants with this lens, as well as to create an opportunity for them to exchange obstacles, successes and lessons learned from their experience and political context. 

Next to discussing strategies and policy proposals related to the beyond growth agenda, we would like to foster greater collaborations between MPs and trade unions, as well as to integrate efforts at national and European levels on building eco-social welfare states. Our objectives are to establish a network of MPs dedicated to advancing welfare beyond growth, facilitate  their collaboration with trade unions, and propose concrete actions to push this agenda forward.

Beyond Growth Partners meeting 

The Beyond Growth Conference in May, organized by twenty members of the European Parliament, trade unions and civil society organizations was a landmark for post-growth European politics. To sustain this momentum, MEP Lamberts’ office is organizing a partners meeting with about 60 civil society organizations. Commons Network will take an active role in this meeting, by discussing our work on degrowth at the local, national and European level.

Apart from  discussing the ongoing initiatives and challenges on moving beyond growth, we will talk strategy on moving the Brussels agenda. With the European elections coming up, there are new opportunities for joint efforts to transform the economy.

The Commons Network team is looking forward to bringing our perspective on degrowth to Brussels, as well as to be working with and learning from other grassroots organizations, European NGOs, trade union representatives, and national and European politicians!