Adopted at the EGP Spring Council, Copenhagen, May 11-13, 2012.
Only the introduction of the resolution is here. To read the full resolution, download the PDF here.
Why a new course is needed
The European Green Party expressed its vision for a social Europe in 2008.1 However, at this moment, the financial crisis was just starting. Since then, this crisis has transformed into an economic and social one, which increased inequalities. Some groups have been particularly affected by the crisis, including the young, the low-skilled, women, employees on temporary contracts, EU mobile workers, migrants and the elderly; the long term social impact of the crisis is not yet fully known.
These times of combined social, economic, environmental resources and food crisis have sharpened the sense of urgency to fundamentally review the way our society functions from the local to the global level. The European Union must play a key role in this process. Persistent unbalanced distribution of wealth and other inequalities are not only an issue in Europe, but at least as much on a global scale, between the continents and within societies of emerging countries. It could well be the greatest challenge of our time to improve the quality of life all over the world in such a way that our planet can bear. This major topic – a global Green New Deal – will be covered in an- other paper. This policy paper deals with the needed transformation of European societies.
For the past 50 years, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of developed countries has been growing steadily. Technological progress, replacing labour by capital, a more effcient labour organisation, an intensive level of delocalization of industries and imports of low-price commodities, improved education and training have resulted in a continuous increase in the productivity of labour, and an exponential rise of our material wealth.Yet this apparent progress was achieved at the cost of environmental destruction and did not lead to social welfare for all; a reality that we Greens have long tried to bring attention to.
How should we interpret the erosion of our social rights (pension rights, social protection, health care, etc.) at a time when we are told that economic growth is lead - ing us to a better world? What conclusions should we draw from persistent inequalities between rich and poor, the difficult access to decent and affordable housing, the persistence of mass unemployment, the rise of working poor among the low skilled workers, the increase in the number of homeless people, the bulk of unskilled or poorly-skilled workers, for whom social protection only reaches the bare minimum? How can we justify the rate at which we are degrading our environment, advancing dangerous climate change, threatening our health and depleting biodiversity? When rising income inequalities have been a cause of the crisis which measures should we adopt to accomplish a just and sustainable income distribution?
What we need is more than a few policy changes; it is a profound transformation of our development model which tackles the roots of the problems. The Green New Deal proposes a comprehensive process of transformation. While not being a ready-to-use model, it provides a set of values, ideas and measures that will enable well-being and prosperity for all to be developed in a sustainable framework and in the context of an ageing society and growing exclusion of young and elderly people alike, that needs concepts of intergenerational solidarity. It aims to provide a credible roadmap for our societies to respond to the challenges of the 21st century, where dominant political models, whether capitalist or socialist, neoliberal or populist, have failed.