As this paper shows, becoming a global leader in implementing the SDGs is not just an opportunity to sustain Europe’s diplomatic profile for global development, environmental protection and climate change mitigation. It is also an opportunity to make progress on the most pressing European debates, and to empower those parts of European society that have been left behind.


  • The approval of the SDGs was a success for EU diplomacy – but the EU is not taking them as seriously as it should; nor is the EU doing as well as it might think in delivering the SDGs for Europe – though a much better gap analysis is needed.
  • The EU should prepare an EU2030 strategy based on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. As Europe thinks about the SDGs, it must strategise globally, and consider the spill-over effects of internal policy for third countries.
  • The next Multi-Annual Financial Framework should integrate the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in all budget headings.
  • The prize is a Europe – and a Europe in the world – which meets all three pillars of the SDGs: economic; social; and environmental.

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