The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has recently produced an own-initiative Opinion document on “GDP and beyond – the involvement of civil society in choosing complementary indicators.”
The document reports that the EESC recognizes the advances made in recent years in devising complementary indicators to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at both world and European levels. However, it is stressed that, in the view of the EESC, the process leading to a new definition of well-being and progress of societies – beyond economic growth alone – cannot be separated from current European policies to tackle the renewed impact of the economic and financial crisis. At present, there is a wide gap between economic policies and policies for well-being and societal progress at both national and European level, but the authors see a possibility of narrowing this gap in connection with the adoption of indicators complementary to GDP by official statistical services.
The EESC proposes that there needs to be a thorough debate on the fundamental meaning of progress and the concept of development, and any decisions have to be based on contributions from the civil society. The Committee also emphasizes its willingness to act as a meeting place between organized civil society and official European bodies as part of a participatory decision-making process to identify and design indicators of progress for the European Union.