You can download the full text of the Common Manifesto 2014 in .pdf HERE
In the present crisis the European Union has not delivered on its promises to a great number of its citizens. And it has been everything but unified on how to change for the better. This is why Greens propose a new strategy.
We Europeans should unite our strengths, which is what sovereignty means, in order to shape our own future. Instead of the socially deaf and environmentally blind austerity, we propose three coherent avenues to sustainability: fighting unemployment, poverty and all forms of social injustice; transforming our economies with innovation and eco-efficient solutions to tackle climate change and environmental degradation; re-regulating the financial industry so it serves the real economy. We call this a European Green New Deal.
SOLIDARITY, SOLIDITY AND SUSTAINABILITY
We do not want the EU and its member states to rely on a level of debt that is excessive and burdens citizens and future generations. That includes bringing financial debt, be it public or private, back to sustainable levels and making sure it funds sustainable value-creating investments. This will require cases of restructuring public and private debt. Equally, we must address social debt: reducing unemployment, poverty and inequalities, improving health and education. This requires strong investment efforts. Last but not least, it requires addressing environmental debt: tackling climate change, the exhaustion of finite resources and the erosion of biodiversity. We need a living countryside, with sustainable agriculture and economically and socially vibrant rural areasas well as abundant fish stocks to support coastal communities.
By becoming world leaders in inventing and delivering solutions that make a good life possible for everyone while respecting the limits of our planet, we will find the key to a new economic dynamic for jobs and prosperity. We reject the so-called pact on competitiveness as this would entail wage cuts, reduction of social welfare schemes and privatisation of public goods. Fiscal sustainability must go hand-in-hand with equally strong social and environmental sustainability; and stronger shoulders must carry more of the burden. Austerity as imposed in the recent economic crisis takes us in the opposite direction.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION OF A SOCIAL EUROPE
Europe must be built on a foundation of social justice and yet, for an increasing number of people, social hardship has become the reality. European Greens believe in policies that tackle growing levels of inequality and are adamant that there should be no second-rate citizens in the EU. It is therefore essential that social impacts such as inequality and poverty are taken into account.
Widespread unemployment, particularly youth unemploymentand old age poverty are key elements of injustice. Political measures that promise relief, such as the European Youth Guarantee Scheme, will not be successful unless they are adequately funded and above all underpinned by a strong policy of job creation. Member states must continue to tackle child poverty through evidence-based preventative early intervention investment.The EU must put an end to social dumping, to zero-hours contracts, to low-pay jobs and unfair internships. Greens advocate fair and gradually improving minimum social standards in Europe in accordance with national conditions and labour market models – particularly in terms of job quality and security, of wages, of public health, and of pensions. We want to move towards better portability of social benefits through the introduction of a European social card, with high and binding privacy standards, which streamlines administrative processes across countries and which makes a genuine European citizenship more concrete.
We want the European Central Bank (ECB) to include macroeconomic and financial stability among its policy objectives, which also includes employment promotion. Moreover, to boost employment in Europe we need to work further to make the project of the single market fully operational, particularly in the area of free movement of workers and services.
We advocate the inclusion of a social progress clause in European law, which would emphasise the priority of building a social Europe. Social balance across Europe must address the threat of a brain-drain - especially of young people - away from crisis-stricken regions and the exploitation of migrant workers, while respecting the fundamental right to free movement. The Greens wish to see new instruments developed to mitigate larger differences in economic cycles including unemployment rates. We promote the emancipation of women in society and in the economy. 'Equal payment for equal work' must be a standard all over the EU, as well as equal representation of women in company boards. Having a family or sharing care should not be obstacles to a successful career for either men or women. To counter age discrimination, Greens oppose any age limits on access to public services and we stand for the implementation of reliable basic standards in the pension models of all member states. We consider that the rekindling of social Europe is closely related to a reinvigorated social dialogue where federations of employers and trade unions assume their responsibilities. Cross-border collective agreements for European transnational companies should be promoted.
BRINGING FINANCIAL INDUSTRY UNDER CONTROL
Five years after the outset of the financial crisis, our system remains dominated by banks that are too big or too interconnected to fail and therefore too dangerous. Bank bail-outs have cost billions to the European taxpayers; this should never happen again. We want to ensure a properly sized, diverse and resilient financial sector that serves society and helps mobilise sustainable investments in the real economy. We propose stringent rules for the separation of banking activities into those which are essential to society and those which are not. Greens have contributed strongly to ensuring that financial products and activities which produce no benefit for the real economy and have the potential to destabilise the financial system can be banned and taken off the European market. European authorities should make use of this possibility. Only financial products and activities which demonstrate benefits for society must be authorized. Our initiatives have outlawed naked speculation on sovereign debt; curbed bankers’ bonuses; forced banks to disclose activities in tax havens; submitted the European Central Bank´s banking supervision to more democratic accountability. Greens are proud of achievements in this domain.
Now we need to build on these successes. We want to ensure consumers receive good, independent advice on all financial services. Financial services legislation must not support further concentration of market power to the detriment of small sustainable banks.We advocate a European Banking Union, combining a strong common oversight of our banks, a common authority and fund to restructure failing banks and a common system of insurance for deposits up to €100,000 or equivalent. EU institutions must also contribute to tackling financial short-termism that limits the level of sustainability ambition in strategic investment decisions.
PUBLIC FINANCES: FAIR AND EFFECTIVE TAXATION
At the moment, the tax burden weighs disproportionally on low and medium income earners and on small and medium enterprises, while an estimated €1,000bn annually escapes through evasion and fraud. Our goal is to restore tax justice and efficiency. We want to reduce the tax burden on labour and move towards taxing pollution and waste. We will do our utmost to enact a financial transaction tax despite powerful lobbies opposed to this plan. As we want large corporations and wealthy individuals to contribute their fair share, we advocate a more common European approach to corporate and wealth taxation, including minimum rates. Last but not least, we advocate a common offensive against tax evasion, tax fraud and tax havens, starting by putting an end to bank secrecy. On the expenditure side, Greens explicitly fight wasteful and ecologically harmful spending such as fossil fuel subsidies or nuclear programmes such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Managing legacy public debt together, by setting up a debt redemption fund and gradually issuing common debt instruments (Eurobonds) under clearly defined and realistic common fiscal discipline rules are key moves in order to ensure the sustainability of public finances. In order to revive economies in crisis and preserve the monetary union, we advocate an increase in the EU budget, primarily funded by own resources, and the creation of financial solidarity instruments aimed at helping to finance the economic recovery.
RISE: RENAISSANCE OF INDUSTRY FOR A SUSTAINABLE EUROPE
We want to transform our European economy into a global champion of energy and resource efficiency, based on less energy-intensive technologies and renewable energies and on improving the way we manage, use, reuse, recycle, substitute and value resources. We want resource efficiency and eco-innovation to underpin policies and investment in all sectors of the economy. This Green offensive will create many new quality jobs for high-skilled as well as low-skilled workers in a variety of industries, and it will enhance working conditions and workers health. It will also enhance future economic resilience. Industry should not follow false leads like drilling for shale gas or converting food to fuel. Rather it should become a key partner in this innovation-oriented Green transformation by promoting eco-design rules, public procurement, state aid rules, private investment, small and medium sized enterprises and cooperatives, better funding for research, development and education, promotion of entrepreneurship, and in particular social entrepreneurship, good industrial relations, workplace democracy and fighting corporate vested interests. These must all be elements of our effort. We want to strengthen trade unions and the right of male and female workers to participate equally in decision-making processes. Trade policy should support a sustainable industrial renaissance in Europe and show respect and solidarity for our global partners. One project of particular relevance in this context will be creating a European Renewable Energy Community to help break our addiction to fossil fuels.