A compass towards 2030

Navigating the EU’s economy beyond GDP by applying the Doughnut Economics framework

As the world faces the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis, the political focus in Europe is on the need to build back better for a resilient economy and focusing on securing the health of citizens. Decision-makers in Europe put forth plans to address these issues, such as the 8th Environmental Action Plan, the Resilience Dashboards and the European Green Deal, while also considering the role of older policy processes such as the EU Semester or Sustainable Development Goals.

As each of the many ongoing processes have their own sets of indicators and corresponding targets to measure progress towards these indicators , policymakers are challenged to ensure targets across one policy area do not entail tensions and trade-offs with another. At the same time, policymakers need to be able to communicate the EU’s progress to the public.

However, currently each of the EU’s policy processes has its own monitoring dashboard, or one is planned. This proliferation of dashboards makes it difficult for decision-makers to grasp the EU’s most important social, economic and environmental developments; to communicate social, environmental and economic progress to the public with a narrative fit for the challenges ahead; and to find harmony between tensions across policy areas.

To address these challenges, we propose an overarching dashboard with targets to 2030 which encompasses the priorities of and uses indicators and targets from across different EU policy processes. This dashboard should:

  • Track the EU’s progress towards a regenerative economy in particular environmental sustainability, wellbeing and resilience.
  • Provide an easily accessible and cross-departmental summary of indicators of existing dashboards, including the resilience dashboards, the 8th EAP monitoring framework, the Social Scoreboard, the SDGs and the upcoming European Green Deal (EGD) dashboard.
  • Help to mainstream a beyond GDP agenda throughout the Commission and Member States’ various services as a cross-cutting priority.
  • Give a clear visual representation of the EU’s priorities that enables decision-makers and citizens to quickly grasp the EU’s important trends and help readers to easily identify important interconnections between policy objectives that need to be balanced and gaps in goal achievement.

This report presents a set of 30 indicators and corresponding targets that can be used for this overarching beyond GDP dashboard, all of which come from existing EU data sources. This report also describes the methodology we used to define the indicators and targets as well as justifications for choosing each of them. We conclude with a set of six concrete recommendations for the EU Commission, EU Member States and the EU Parliament to consider based on our deep analysis of existing dashboards and our selection of indicators.

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See Inventory of EU indicators for a compilation of over 450 EU indicators used in the development of this proposal.

See also the presentation slides and video recording of the EESC hearing, 3 November 2021, and the EESC own-initiative opinion.

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Inventory of EU indicatorsExecutive summary: A compass towards 2030

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