2 February 2024

PMore than five thousand people will participate in person and online at the “Beyond Growth 2023” conference (Beyond Growth)from 15 to 17 May, a cross-party initiative which will take place in the European Parliament, in Brussels, and which we, MEPs from five different political groups and non-attached members, are organizing together, alongside more than 60 partner organisations.

With this three-day conference bringing together high-level speakers from European institutions, academia, trade unions, businesses and civil society organisations, our objective is to question the dominant doctrine that underpins public policies for European Union (EU) and to redefine our common objectives in all areas, moving away from the harmful focus on economic growth as the sole basis of our development model.

Indeed, our current economic model, based on an assumption of infinite growth, has reached its limits. First of all, perpetual economic growth, based in particular on the consumption of fossil fuels, leads to catastrophic climatic disturbances.

An unstable current economic model

Then, the unlimited pursuit of growth is based on the depletion of natural resources, the destruction of biodiversity and the accumulation of waste and pollution. It also poses risks to our health, our economies and our societies as a whole.

Furthermore, the current economic model contributes to social inequalities and exclusion. The focus on economic growth has not translated into an equal distribution of wealth or equality of opportunity. On the contrary, it has resulted in a concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few, at the expense of the many.

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Finally, the current economic model is inherently unstable and prone to crises, as demonstrated, for example, by the 2008 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. The pursuit of growth at all costs has created a fragile global economic system that is vulnerable to shocks.

Greater pluralism of economic thought

As MEPs from different political groups, we have different views on how to achieve an economy that goes beyond the single objective of growth. However, we all agree on the urgency and importance of this debate, and on the need to get out of the dogma of growth.

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