To access the citizen participation portal of the Conference on the Future of Europe and share your ideas to build back better, fairer, greener: click here.
On Europe Day, we usually look to the past to celebrate Europe’s founding fathers and mothers Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet and Louise Weiss, who led efforts to build back better after the tragedy of World War II. Peace in Europe and the uniting of European member states after the war was their great challenge.
Today, our great challenge is fighting climate change as fast as we can while ensuring prosperity for all and tackling the current pandemic. At this time, we want to remember the inspired action and determination of those that came before us but also look towards the future of Europe. It is in times like these when it is most important to act, together. To explore alternative possibilities and envision new solutions that can lead us towards a brighter future.
Join us in building back a better, fairer, and greener Europe
Our climate action must meet the scale of the current environmental breakdown. That is why the European Greens are advocating for a Green Recovery – an ambitious recovery plan that tackles both the climate crisis and COVID-19, and effectively guards against future health, economic and environmental crises. By transitioning to a circular economy, protecting biodiversity, decarbonising industry, and providing green jobs, we can kick-start the economy and get people back to work while accelerating our transition to climate neutrality. With this approach, we can build back better for present and future generations.
The pandemic has also highlighted the human cost of austerity policies, which have cut public funding to the health sectors of countries in the EU. We believe that healthcare and other public services must be viewed as commons that we need to protect and fund adequately. That’s why we want to implement publicly funded and managed health systems that can ensure that vaccines and other treatments are accessible to everyone and help prevent future health crises.
World War II led to new international agreements, borders and structures that resulted in a common market, the free movement of all peoples across the continent and the founding of what we now know as the European Union. Today, we need a similar level of European mobilisation to enact the systemic change needed to tackle the health and climate crises.
Despite having declared a climate emergency, we have yet to centre climate at the heart of our political agenda. We are proud of young Europeans asking their governments to take climate action that meet the scale of the crisis, and they are finally being heard! In a landmark hearing, the German Constitutional Court recently ruled that the 2019 Climate Protection Law doesn't sufficiently protect the rights and freedoms of younger generations.
When our children and their children ask about this critical moment in history, we will want them to be proud of what European politicians achieved even in the face of great difficulty. We will want to tell them how we held steadfast to our European values of fundamental freedoms, human dignity, solidarity, equality, democracy and rule of law. This is a time of great change, a time for renewed hope and ambitions!
A new Europe is on the cusp of emerging, and we stand now at the crossroads of history. We cannot give in to vaccine nationalism, rising authoritarianism, anti-science rhetoric, and fascist ideology. As the Greens, we believe that we must enhance democratic participation, engage civil society, protect vulnerable people, celebrate inclusiveness, and find collective purpose in our fight against climate change.
The future is in your hands
The upcoming German and French elections present the Greens with an opportunity to lead in this new, exciting, direction. The Greens are already in government at the national level in 6 EU countries – making a difference, driving change, and taking responsibility for shaping the future. Be it in Ireland, where the Greens pushed through an ambiguous climate bill set to transform the country. In Austria, where 2 billion went to climate investment in their national recovery plan 2020. Or in Belgium and Finland, where Greens in government pushed through that 50% and more of the EU recovery money is used for green spending. The choice citizens make will determine not only the future of their country, but also the future direction of the European Union.
Elections are not the only way citizens can make their voice heard. The Conference on the Future of Europe is starting, and the Greens are calling for a truly participatory process. We want all citizens to share their ideas for a Europe that work for all, respect planetary boundaries, and move forward towards a change that will bring a new prosperity for all. We encourage you to make your voices heard and to share your green ideas, the ideas we are fighting together for, on the citizen platform.
This is the time to imagine alternative radical solutions together – as political and community leaders, NGOs, civil organisations and citizens – to shape the recovery. We can continue working towards an inclusive and peaceful Europe. We can rebuild better, fairer, and greener to save our planet from the existential threat of climate change and ensure prosperity for all.
On Europe Day, let’s tackle the great challenge of our time, the climate crisis, and continue building the future of Europe together!
Evelyne Huytebroeck and Thomas Waitz, co-chairs of the European Green Party
You can get involved in the most pressing discussions by registering for our bi-annual event that brings together the Green family: the 33rd European Green Party Council, happening 25-29 May. It will feature as Keynote Speakers the candidate for the German chancellorship, Annalena Baerbock, and the most senior transgender politician in Europe, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Petra de Sutter.