In the middle of an economic, social, ecological and democratic crisis in the EU, the European Greens have reaffirmed their stances on the future of Europe. This resolution reasserts the Green New Deal as a comprehensive, concrete and systemic programme that can bridge increasing inequalities, combine financial stability with innovation, quality jobs, economic and social well-being and sustainable use of resources. By promoting such an overarching response to the current crises, the European Greens aims at restoring the trust and self-confidence of Europeans. In the same vein, GEF’s future of the EU project intends to bring similar thematic discussion on the national political agendas, in order to engage an EU-wide political debate among the Green family on the future of the European project.
Here are some of the main elements of this resolution.
A Green New Deal for Europe, not a Fiscal Compact
The European Green Party considers that the new intergovernmental Treaty ‘The Fiscal Compact’ is both unnecessary and harmful as it turns attention away from the real solutions to respond to the crises and is approved outside the EU institutional framework. Budget discipline must go hand in hand with building a credible financial firewall, strong enough to drive down interest rates on sovereign debt. Restoring the confidence of Europe’s citizens as well as the markets requires a shift from austerity-only to structural reforms, especially in the financial sector, and smarter investments.
Therefore the European Green Party proposes new measures for a green and social economy:
- new legislative measures (e.g. financial transaction tax, CO2, environment and energy tax; compulsory common consolidated corporate tax base and minimum rates, a “tax competition disarmament pact”; etc.) aimed at strengthening the revenue side of national and EU budgets and/or enabling governments to shift the tax burden away from labour while eliminating flat taxes;
- to turn the European Investment Bank into a catalyst for sustainable investments, through an increase of its subscribed capital, activation of its banking license and/or a contribution from the EU budget for project bonds;
- the promotion of cultural openness and access to knowledge in a broad range of policy fields (labour migration, research, higher education, digital rights), which fosters innovation, as an essential part of the recovery plan;
- a strong re-regulation of the financial sector, which is at the origin of the crises, based on the 'polluter pays'-principle and aimed at fostering ethical banks and social investment funds.
Towards a new EU Constitutional text
While strengthening economic union, the EU must also become more democratic, more transparent and more cohesive. Therefore, the European Greens remain convinced that a short Constitutional text with the clear indication of its objectives, decision-making procedures, institutions and competences is needed, to increase the legitimacy and the ownership of the EU by its people.
As part of the content this short Constitutional text should include:
- new instruments and minimum standards to guarantee EU-wide social protection and job creation;
- a reform of the European budget, including its revenue side, as well as the creation of Eurobonds and the ability given to the ECB to act as lender of last resort;
- more power given to the European Parliament, especially in the fields of foreign policy, economic governance, migration and taxes;
- making the Charter of Fundamental Rights fully enforceable;
- a legal provision for a European Referendum, a part of the Members of the European Parliament to be elected on the basis of transnational lists, making direct democratic instruments such as the ECI more stringent.
According to the European Greens, the right time to start making the EU more democratic and cohesive is now, two years from the next European elections. Therefore the EGP calls on the European Parliament to use its powers to propose Treaty changes (art. 48) and start working on the central elements of a comprehensive reform of the EU, with national parliaments and civil society in a large public debate and consultation, to define the direction and the instruments of the next steps for Europe. Any reform of the EU Treaties should be submitted to an EU-wide referendum that would remove veto rights for single member states and would extend ratification powers to the European Parliament.
A full version of the resolution can be downloaded here.
It is now time to take this debate to the national scenes!
Throughout 2012, GEF with support of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and national Green foundations across Europe will develop a project aimed at mapping the various national discourses on the European Union, as well as identifying the Green positions on the topic and highlighting the Green visions for the future of the Union. The project will focus on confronting national debates on Europe by fostering understanding of different national realities on the transnational level.
The objective is to organise events on the topic in several countries and to collect reports on all these national events on this web dossier published in this section of the GEF website.
In the meantime, we will continue publishing articles and links to inspiring contributions to facilitate an on-going Green debate on the future of the EU. In case you have published on the topic, please signal your articles to us and help us create a truly European discussion on this crucial topic.