The European Union has been engaged in sustainability policies for a long time. Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union stipulates, inter alia that:
The Union shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment.
In the summer of 2001, the European Council adopted the first EU Sustainable Development Strategy (EU SDS) with the aim of improving the quality of life on earth for both present and future generations. The strategy provides a cross-cutting political framework for all EU policies and strategies. In particular, it is intended to ensure that economic growth, environmental protection and social integration go hand in hand.
A revised version of the strategy was adopted by the European Council in 2006. However, against the backdrop of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in New York in 2015, the 2006 EU strategy is outdated. For this reason the German government actively supports revising the EU Sustainable Development Strategy - also with a view to creating a framework for implementing the 2030 Agenda at EU level. The German government considers the European Commission Communication of 22 November 2016 on the implementation of the Agenda by the EU to be merely a first step and not sufficient as a framework for implementation. This view is supported by the other EU member states; on 20 June 2017, all member states requested that the Commission develop an implementation strategy by July 2018, setting out a road map and objectives leading up to 2030 and including specific measures on how the 2030 Agenda will be taken into account in all internal and external EU policy areas.