May 15th, 2023, the European Parliament hosted the first ever Beyond Growth Conference. An initiative of 20 MEPs and supported by the president of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, it was an unprecedented event given the topic of the conference is not popular among multiple political groups.
The Conference aimed to highlight the blind spots in the current social paradigm based on economic growth, and tried to address them by presenting what can be done to transition from a growth-based to a sustainable wellbeing-based socio-economical model.
Three days of plenaries, workshops and side-events, the Beyond Growth Conference was marked by a homogenous discourse based on the Parliament’s publication “Beyond Growth: Pathways towards sustainable wellbeing”. Populated with reputable activists, researchers and civil society stakeholders, the conference offered strong evidence against current macroeconomic frameworks and insisted on the urgency for action.
Attended by an audience already interested and aware of the topic, it left attendees wondering whether EU policymakers were present and what their stance is on this relevant topic that it is still not present in current discussions. Without the proper visibility of already existing concepts and research being carried out, it leaves us the question: we need to act now, but how?