EGP working groups look at digital rights, pensions and the future of Europe

Three of the EGP's working groups met recently to prepare resolutions for the Athens Autumn Council in November

The EGP's active working groups had a busy weekend of meetings last week, with three of them coming together in Brussels at the EGP headquarters to discuss some of the key issues facing Europe and to further develop Green policy responses.
The Digital Rights working group focused on it's key aim: defining the Greens' position on digital rights and deciding to best express their key values. The group is to develop the second draft with seven key focuses: Access issues (net neutrality and public structures), education for all ages as a public right, protecting online privacy and self determination, developing the digital commons, freedom of expression, e-democracy and transparency, and security.

The group hopes to have their next draft of a comprehensive policy ready for discussion at the Athens EGP Autumn Council meeting in November.

The social dimension of the Green New Deal working group has been focusing on a more integrated European approach to pension provision, and was focusing this time on the practicalities of making a European pensions system a reality, in order to better guarantee the rights of European citizens to an economically secure retirement. There was very good participation of several key MEPs in the session, who are eager to see this key issue progressed in advance of the elections in 2014.

The Future of Europe working group is focusing on providing a resolution for the Athens Council on where we, as Greens, want to see the EU develop. The discussion took in not just institutional structures and the shape of the process through which a new EU can emerge (to avoid the failings and flaws of the last EU Intergovernmental Conference) but also points out where and how Greens want to improve and change the proposals to emerge out of the crisis. The representatives from member parties tried to hammer out the details of a resolution that would put democracy and the will of the European citizenry at the heart of a more integrated EU.

One of the highlights of the discussion focused on the idea that citizens do not only have allegiances to their national backgrounds, but rather can find solidarity with other citizens due to other aspects of their identities, such as age, gender, etc. When thinking about alternatives to the current democratic aspects of the union – the European parliament, for example often solely reflects the tendency to classify issues by their national elements.

Discussion also focused on the more immediate issues facing the EU: banking union, the EU budget, the role of the ECB, the role of member states as actors in the Union, realising solidarity on the EU level, and the EU's international role.

Together, the working group aims to put together not only a draft resolution that emphasises the three key aspects to the Greens European policy: EU institutional development and further integration and reforming the decision making process, but also to provide further input for the election manifesto.

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