On 18 January 2018, the Government of Flanders selected the discussion paper "Towards a sustainable Europe in 2030" as one of the priority dossiers in the Commission Work Program 2018.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls on the member states to translate the SDGs into their own objectives and to implement them in the policy. An implementation strategy must be determined at EU level with terms, objectives and concrete measures to implement the Agenda 2030 in EU policies. The Commission must also identify the gaps that the EU will have to close before 2030.
Flanders has always insisted on speeding up the development of a European implementation strategy for the Agenda 2030 in order to be able to align Flemish policy on that European strategy. For Flanders, it is important that the discussion paper shows sufficient coherence with the Vision 2050 of the Government of Flanders and with the 2030 objectives of the Government of Flanders. Flanders also wants to see links with financial and thematic strategies and programs.
On 26 April 2019, The Government of Flanders gave a state of play regarding its follow-up to the discussion paper "Towards a sustainable Europe in 2030".
On January 30, 2019, the European Commission presented its discussion paper "Towards a sustainable Europe in 2030", which deals with the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030. The discussion paper sees 4 major challenges/opportunities that should be prioritized as a priority: (1) from a linear to a circular economy; (2) a sustainable agricultural and food system (sustainability form farm to fork); (3) making energy, buildings and mobility future-proof and (4) ensuring a socially fair transition. The discussion paper also proposes three scenarios on how to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Flanders supports the inclusion of Agenda 2030 in European policy, both internally and externally. According to Flanders, the Agenda 2030 must make the link with the European Semester, the Multi-annual Financial Framework and other processes, such as Europe’s long-term vision and the ‘Clean Planet for All’- initiative. Flanders joins the other member states in the demand for more clarity about the follow-up process and wants to emphasize a fast and efficient approach. Flanders also wants to know whether a new governance structure is being created and is opposed to heavy reporting systems.