24 November 2017
European Greens co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer urges European leaders to tackle ‘fundamental’ challenges
European Greens co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer urged European leaders to tackle “challenges fundamental to the development of human civilisation” at a press conference at the European Green Party Council in Karlstad attended by 300 party members from across Europe. Climate debate, globalisation, and the state of play in Europe, he said, must become the focus in Europe.
His comments were as follows:
"I would like to sincerely thank the Swedish Greens for hosting this Council in Karlstad. They have shown themselves to be one of the real drivers and shakers in the European Green family with climate a strong plank on their agenda.
"I see this also as a family meeting and learning experience for everyone involved.
"150 delegates are attending from all over Europe with the climate debate, globalisation, and the state of play in Europe firmly on the agenda. They are three core issues that are fundamental to green politics. No progress can be made without solving climate challenges.
"The outcomes of the COP23 in Bonn have been too slow with Germany and other European countries failing to deliver on their promises. European leaders must live up to the standards agreed at international level with the 17 sustainable development goals and be aware of the issues that resonate with people in their everyday lives.
"We are happy that Sweden is a leader in that regard.
"Greens have always been a force for progressive change but today people are also afraid of change. We need to figure out a way to deal with the downside of globalisation.
"2017 has been a good year for Europe beginning with the surprising victory of Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen one year ago. Populists didn’t break through in the Netherlands and French President Emmanuel Macron took a pro-European stance and defeated populists.
"In June last year we were stunned by Brexit and in November by the victory of US President Donald Trump. It seemed like democracy was on the verge of being overwhelmed by extremism. That is not happening presently but we better make sure European policy makers deliver on their promises to people to avoid an extremist backlash. Europe must function better for the people. Speeches by EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and Emmanuel Macron are proof of their will to form an agenda that delivers to citizens. Other countries must now follow suit and step up to the plate.
"The EU has promised to defend common values and deliver a better life and future for our kids.
"European progress will always depend on our willingness to do battle for it. We cannot sit back and wait. We must engage but as we can see with successes in Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and other countries the Green family is in good shape.”
Resolution adopted at the EGP Council in Karlstad, 24-26 November 2017. You can download the resolution in .pdf in EN.
While respecting the decision of the British voters (by a small majority) to leave the EU resulting from the referendum, the European Green Party continues to regret it. We believe that this decision will have profound negative consequences on the populations of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Gibraltar, including the potential impacts and negative consequences of an EU/non-EU border in the latter two cases.
The EGP notes the poor quality of debate during the European referendum campaign and the consequent chaotic nature of the UK government’s negotiating strategy with the EU. The lack of leadership and the astonishing failures in terms of lack of information and transparency, towards both its own population and its partners in the EU is deeply disappointing. The continuing refusal to make public the content of detailed studies into the impact of Brexit is also a cause for concern.
The EGP deplores the UK government’s refusal to unequivocally guarantee meaningful protection from the outset for EU citizens in the UK, as well as for UK citizens in the EU. We condemn the use of these citizens as bargaining chips in the negotiations.
The growing climate of mistrust, division and xenophobia in the UK is also deeply concerning and there must be far greater action on the part of the UK government to condemn hate crime and tackle all forms of racism, whether from politicians, the press or individuals.
The EGP calls on the UK government to take action to protect communities made vulnerable by the vote, acknowledging that the vote has impacted both EU and non-EU citizens, and to celebrate the contributions they have made to the UK.
The EGP supports the position that there now needs to be a public vote on the terms of the UK leaving the EU through a ratification referendum. At the end of the negotiations and before the UK withdrawal from the EU become legally effective, the UK citizens must be able to democratically make a choice between the proposed deal or continued membership of the EU.
The EGP calls on the UK government to guarantee a ratification referendum – a first referendum on the terms of Brexit. This will give the people of the UK more, not less, democracy and must be carried out in an environment that is open, honest and transparent.