Priorities for 2019: What European Greens Fight For
The time is now to tackle climate change. The time is now to protect democracy. The time is now to stand up against hatred and racism. The time is now to fight for social justice. The time is now for change in Europe to allow the fulfilment of the dreams of its citizens.
Our Green vision of Europe is that of a Europe that champions the greening of our economies, which will allow good new jobs to be created. That pursues social and generational justice and inclusive democracy. That protects its citizens and empowers them. That cherishes diversity and upholds the rule of law. That promotes international peace and the Sustainable Development Goals. We owe it to our children and we owe it to the world.
We want to renew the promise of Europe. We stand for the European project. We will work to push back against and isolate those who try to convert valid criticism of deficiencies and mistakes into an anti-European, extremist and xenophobic roll-back. We say no to a Europe of nationalisms. We consider the European unification process a great historical achievement. It benefits Europeans in multiple ways. But we will not rest on our laurels. Europe, our common home, is a dedication, a responsibility.
"We want to renew the promise of Europe"
European unity must be developed further in every generation. In our time, it is becoming increasingly important to work together for our shared values and interests in the world. To deal with the big challenges we must agree on European sovereignty because our individual nations are not powerful enough. Let’s deal with the challenges and opportunities together as Europeans. Europe shall uphold multilateralism, human rights, sustainable development and peaceful conflict resolution.
To build a Europe that delivers to its citizens, democracy must be strengthened. The EU institutional framework must develop further into a full multi-level democracy in which all public decisions are taken in a transparent way by elected and politically accountable representatives. This framework must allow citizens to get involved actively to create the transformative power of changing Europe for the better. Therefore, lobbying needs to become transparent with binding rules. All this is why we stand with movements that promote solidarity, environmental and climate responsibility, rule of law, feminism, justice and freedom. These are core Green values that we pursue in the quest for popular democracy. The Economic and Monetary Union has to be reformed to ensure that progress is shared fairly and no one is left behind.
"We call on all European citizens to make use of their right to vote"
We call on all European citizens to make use of their right to vote. Rarely has a European election been as consequential as the next one will be. Whether Europe moves forward together or falls apart depends on the citizens’ choice, on your choice. Here are the 12 Green priorities for changing Europe:
Fight climate change by phasing out coal, promoting energy efficiency and moving to 100% renewables
Climate change is the defining challenge of our times. Without reining in climate change, humanity would create momentous havoc and would render many parts of the globe basically uninhabitable.
But the answer to the climate crisis does exist: It starts with solar, wind and other renewables! We must go for 100% renewables, use our energy efficiently, phase out fossil energy and nuclear power while creating sustainable jobs in affected regions. To cut emissions fast enough to reach the 1.5°C-world we will push hard for a just transition towards a net-zero-emissions economy. An EU carbon budget and a strong carbon floor price are needed to strengthen our efforts.
"Climate change is the defining challenge of our times"
We advocate phasing out coal by 2030 and other fossil fuels soon thereafter. Fossil and nuclear subsidies must stop now. Europe needs to divest from fossil fuels, to pull private and public funds from fossil investments.
Invest in a just Green economy, research and innovation
Europe has the chance of becoming a global leader in the just transition to a carbon-neutral circular economy through a Green New Deal, overcoming the austerity paradigm and ensuring economic development that benefits all. This promises good work and decent jobs, sustainability, social inclusiveness, improved crisis resilience and stability. We want to do that in partnership with economic actors, employees, unions and businesses in order to promote economic security.
We call for an effective and independent EU authority to supervise the digital sector in order to control and limit the market power of big corporations. Europe needs a common sustainable industrial policy. We call for the greening of manufacturing and for Greening finance but oppose greenwashing. The development of adequate infrastructure has to be a high priority; emphasis must be put on research and eco-innovation.
The development of digital technology and clean technology shall go hand in hand, guided by societal needs and by the international community’s Sustainable Development Goals. Industrial (de-)regulation and trade agreements must not be allowed to undermine or stand in the way of environmental and social progress.
Guarantee decent minimum income in member countries
Europe needs to become a truly social union, empowering workers, fighting poverty and reducing inequality. The social promise of justice and inclusion for all citizens must be renewed. It must not fall victim to austerity policies nor to corporate greed.
We fight social dumping. Fair pay, Union rights and decent working conditions must be secured. European framework legislation must enforce, through a minimum income directive passed by the next European Parliament, that Member States guarantee their citizens a decent minimum income, respecting national social security systems.
"Social rights must become legally enforceable"
Greens also fight for fairly paid sick leave and fair parental leave in all countries. Social rights must become legally enforceable. We advocate for national experiments on universal basic income and working-time reduction schemes.
Uphold the rule of law and fundamental rights, increase transparency and fight corruption
The rule of law is under assault, both in Europe and abroad. Defending it against authoritarianism is a battle for the soul of Europe. European institutions and Member States must be united in this conflict. The EU needs a binding and comprehensive mechanism to regularly monitor the state of democracy, the right of opposition forces to be heard, the rule of law, free press and fundamental rights in all EU Member States.
It also needs a system of political dialogue and swift intervention and support measures to independent media, civil society and, if necessary, adequate sanctions. Transparency of EU institutions for citizens is indispensable. A lack of transparency in the Council compromises democratic accountability and allows hypocritically blaming ‘Brussels’. The EU must support minority groups reliably against any discrimination. It needs to provide protection to activists, journalists and whistle-blowers who expose hidden information in the public interest.
European funds most not be used to break European rules. National governments that undermined the rule of law shall be denied control over EU funds, while final beneficiaries shall be protected. Corruption must be resolutely fought.
Defend the right to asylum and establish legal and safe channels for migration
Safety guarantees to asylum seekers exist because of lessons that Europe’s dark history has taught us. For us, the right to asylum is non-negotiable. We want an asylum policy based on solidarity, on humanity and an orderly process, including the fair sharing of responsibilities among Member States and re-establishing a European sea-rescuing mission.
"People do not belong in prison for seeking asylum"
Europe must create common standards and common rules for labour mobility and migration. We want the Union to support countries and municipalities integrating refugees or migrants. Helping migrants should never be criminalised. People do not belong in prison for seeking asylum.
Make trains a real alternative to planes in Europe
One core Green goal is to transform the transport sector across Europe to overcome our dependency on polluting cars as quickly as possible, to stop the increasing pollution from aviation and to invest extensively in regional and cross-border railway networks. CO2 emissions from the transport sector continue to rise, particularly from cars and flights. Connecting countries and regions with fast trains, night trains and regional trains offers a positive alternative. To level the playing field between train and air traffic, flights need to be fairly taxed.
Protect the health of our citizens by fighting air and water pollution and stopping plastic waste
Determined action on the environment can improve the lives of millions of people. To protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, we need to cut pollution rapidly. Thousands die every year from fine particles and other air pollutants.
A significant increase in illnesses has been provoked by environmental degradation and unhealthy lifestyles. Chemicals, hormones, nitrate or micro plastic in our food chain pose many health dangers. The EU must address the roots of the problem and take adequate initiatives. Non-recyclable plastics will be taxed or banned, sustainable alternatives developed and recycling targets increased.
To preserve our valuable nature, we want to expand protected natural areas significantly so that they cover key ecosystems. The EU needs a new environmental action programme. The EU should not finance harming the environment or biodiversity. Marine protected areas should cover 20% of our seas.
Produce good local, GMO and pesticide-free food, farming without cruelty to animals
In future, European taxpayers’ money shall only support healthy food production for European citizens instead of subsidising the agro-industry that destroy our soils, heightens the biodiversity crises and monopolises food production.
The most poisonous pesticides must be banned as soon as possible. We oppose European agricultural products being dumped on the world market that destroy the local food production in many developing countries. How much farmers benefit from Europe’s agricultural policies should depend on how much they protect the climate, safeguard water, invest in animal welfare, protect biodiversity and refrain from using GMOs.
We want fair product prices for farmers in vital rural areas rather than serving a few multinationals with huge revenues. Greens stand for animal welfare for farm animals instead of the cruelty of mass breeding and the long-distance livestock transport torture.
Guarantee free access to quality education, fairly paid internships and good jobs for young people
Young people are building the future of Europe. We owe them the best possible conditions for doing so and the right to youth emancipation. This is why young people must have the right to affordable higher education, good training conditions and fair access to good income jobs. Social protection for youth would be guaranteed through minimum income, and basic income experiments.
The EU should encourage Member States to invest more in education. Europe needs to invest heavily in financing lifelong learning and requalification. The EU funding for exchange programmes, such as the Erasmus Programme, needs to be multiplied tenfold. Every young person should have the possibility of participating in an exchange programme regardless of financial background or educational career.
"Young people are building the future of Europe"
Sufficient funding for the European Solidarity Corps ought to give young people the chance to develop their own volunteering projects. We will fight against job market regulations that hinder fair access for young people. A Cultural European Pass would certainly enrich the Erasmus programme.
Fight for tax justice now
Everybody must pay their fair share in taxes because corporate tax evasion and corporate tax avoidance undermine democracy.Our societies are becoming increasingly divided. Unfair taxation contributes to inequality. Growing inequality, unfettered lobbies and corruption pose great dangers for democracy.
Greens will develop tax regimes that do not continue to privilege large multinational corporations and wealthy individuals. We have fought hard in the European Parliament for more tax justice. We will continue to crack down on tax havens, tax evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering.
It is unacceptable that a number of multinational corporations as well as big internet platforms pay almost no taxes at all. Therefore, we want to introduce a digital tax in Europe. Greens stand against unfair tax competition between member countries which is disrupting public budgets everywhere.
Fight for a feminist Europe, against gender-based violence and for equal rights for all
Gender equality is at the heart of Green policies. We want the right to abortion to be included in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. We want to guarantee free and accessible, good-quality and safe sexual and reproductive health care and services for all, including abortion.
Europe needs to fight gender-based violence as laid out in EU policies on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. All European countries must implement the Istanbul Convention as a matter of priority. We are determined to secure equal pay for equal work and a more gender-balance composition of power structures.
We also want all policies and services to recognise the true diversity of Europeans and to tackle and prevent all forms of discrimination and violence, including LGBTIQ*.
Stop arms exports to dictators and warring parties and foster development
The EU is still a peace project. To maintain peace, Europe needs a common security and defence policy, by pooling and sharing resources as well as coordinating Member States’ efforts at the European level.
Europe must not seek profits from unscrupulous exports of arms and surveillance technologies to dictators or warring parties. Stringent export guidelines should be strictly imposed. Stability and development cannot be guaranteed only through military means. Europe should increase its development cooperation funding to reach at least 0.7% of GDP and raise its funding for civil conflict prevention, resolution and moderation instead of reducing it.
When human rights and environment are seriously threatened, Europe has to be able to defend its values by using its foreign policy instruments comprehensively. A comprehensive concept of human security will only thrive in an environment of multilateralism, of international justice, rule of law and the protection of human rights.
the upcoming election will be decisive for Europe’s future. We want to overcome the status quo and to open a new book for our common European endeavour. The world around us does not stand still and we, in Europe, cannot afford to waste time. Let’s be European changemakers! Let us combine radical analysis with visionary goals and a pragmatic approach.
"Let’s be European change makers!"
European Greens pledge to fight for the priorities that we present to you here. We invite all European citizens to support us in these battles. Electing more Green European Parliament Members from more countries will help us to take these steps forward. In order to realise these priorities, we will seek to form progressive alliances and majorities in the next European Parliament. Greens promise to support a leading candidate from the European election as president of the next European Commission who is willing to share these pursuits. Let’s build a better Europe.
Time to renew the promise of Europe
A vote for the Greens is a vote for change. It is a vote to not let go of Europe, but to make it into what it was promised to be: a union not of selfish interests but of shared responsibility. A union not for financial gains for the few, but economic and social progress for all. A union that leads the world by protecting people and the planet. Now is the time to fulfil that promise. Now is the time for change.
We are a truly European movement united by our vision, mission and passion. From Ireland to Georgia, from Norway to Malta, we fight for human dignity, sustainability, equality, peace and solidarity. We do it in the parliaments and we do it on the streets.
But today powerful forces are trying to steer us back. On one side, new groups are using aggressive tactics and the temptation of hatred to trick and force their way into power. On the other, status-quo politicians are failing to enact real change in a time that calls for ambitious action. The UK has decided to leave the Union, and other forces want to weaken it. Authoritarianism, racism, neoliberalism, terrorism and wars in our neighbourhood – all in different ways – have eroded the sense of security for many Europeans.
The financial crisis and austerity policies left millions in poverty, while big multinational corporations avoid taxes. People fleeing war and persecution exposed governments unwilling to help, while Europe as a whole is wealthier than ever. The climate crisis threatens to rapidly undo the very foundations of our civilisation.
Europe’s future is in jeopardy. Now is the time for change.
Now, more than ever, we need to act. We need to build a democratic and inclusive Europe that is socially just and environmentally sustainable. We need an economy that serves both current and future generations. We need a Europe that bears its global responsibility and leaves no one behind.
In today’s globalised world, no country is big enough to tackle problems alone. We can only take back control by working together and looking to the future – not by building walls and retreating into the past. We are guided by the Sustainable Development Goals, providing a roadmap for all countries.
The European Union is far from perfect but it can be a powerful force for good. We can build on what has been achieved – and change what has not worked. By working together, Europe can reduce poverty and create jobs, tackle the climate crisis and restore our nature, fight discrimination and defend freedom.
We know that building this Europe will not be easy. Old status-quo parties have long resisted calls for progressive reforms. But we are committed to working hard every day with people, organisations and movements fighting for change across the continent, supported by a growing number of Europeans. The future is Green.
Over the years, our persistent work has delivered many successes. With the Greens playing a leading role, Europe has taken important steps to invest in renewable energy, secure people’s privacy online, improve recycling, and ban harmful pesticides. Thanks to Green leadership, Europe is moving towards protecting whistle-blowers who expose information in the public interest, taking action against authoritarian governments, banning unnecessary plastics, and fighting tax evasion by big corporations – just to give a few examples.
A vote for the Greens makes a real difference. But much work remains to be done.
We want a Europe where young people no longer have to struggle to find decent jobs; women are not discriminated against at work; and small business owners do not suffer from unfair tax competition by big corporations. Where parents do not have to worry about their children being exposed to harmful chemicals; journalists about getting silenced by powerful interests; and trans people about facing violence on the streets. Where the elderly do not live in abject poverty and people drown in the Mediterranean. Where animals are no longer abused in industries; and old-growth forests logged for short-term profit.
But we cannot do this alone. Join us to share our passion for a just and sustainable future.
It is time to renew the promise of Europe.
Letting children and youth inherit a clean and safe planet
We want Europe to lead the world in a just transition to sustainable societies. Greening our economy is an historic opportunity to create jobs and improve our quality of life while making sure no one is left behind. Climate crisis, destruction of nature and overuse of resources threaten the foundations of our well-being and wealth – even our security. Human progress can only take place within planetary boundaries.
Environmental sustainability is not a luxury, it is a necessity. With declining biodiversity, polluted air and accelerating climate crisis, Europe must do much more, much faster across all policy areas. We have an obligation to preserve the environment – for the people today as for our children tomorrow. We must ensure representation for all who will inherit the planet.
Climate action. Europe has to lead the way on climate action, making the Paris Agreement a reality. We want the EU to pursue all possible efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We are calling for a European climate law, with binding carbon budgets reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and building a net-zero emissions economy. This must include restoring natural carbon sinks in forests and soils.
To show leadership, Europe needs to increase international climate funding. If key countries outside the EU refuse to limit emissions, border-tax adjustments may be introduced to ensure a level playing field for European workers and companies. We want a strong carbon-floor price in the emissions trading system.
Energy. Not a single euro from taxpayers should finance fossil fuels. Funds divested from fossil energy can be reinvested in sustainable solutions, such as energy efficiency, cross-border trains and sustainable farming.
To reach climate goals, Europe must phase out coal by 2030 and other fossil fuels, including gas, as soon as possible thereafter. Nuclear power and fracking have no role to play in the clean energy future. We want to make energy efficiency and saving energy the first priority, while tackling energy poverty. Carried out correctly, the energy transition to 100% renewable energy will cut pollution, create jobs and increase our energy independence – while empowering citizens to play a more active role.
Transport. Building a sustainable transport system requires investing in railways, connecting European countries and regions with more accessible and affordable trains, including fast and night trains. Overall, stronger public transportation as well as reducing the necessity for transport can remedy traffic congestion and pollution across Europe. Parts of freight transport can be moved to rails or existing waterways, if no further environmental damage. All trucks, vans, trains, ships and planes must eventually become zero-emission vehicles.
Funding for sustainable transport can be redirected from subsidies for air travel through the introduction of a European flight tax, European VAT on tickets as well as ending the kerosene tax exemption for airplanes, while supporting remote areas like islands with no other means of transportation. Taxing flights and road transport according to the polluter-pays principle would level the playing field between transport modes.
No new fossil-fuel cars should be sold in Europe after 2030. The Union should support the creation of low-emission zones in towns and cities across Europe and promote cycling and walking. To play a role, biofuels must have a low carbon footprint and must not compete with food production or cause biodiversity loss.
Environment and nature protection. Determined action on the environment can improve the lives of millions of Europeans. Today, air pollution alone causes more than 400,000 early deaths every year in the EU – and weakens the quality of life for millions more.
Setting tighter limits on pollution protects the air we breathe. Moving to sustainable farming makes the water we drink cleaner. Banning dangerous chemicals helps prevent health problems. Clean solutions have a fast-growing global market, providing jobs and income.
To preserve our valuable nature, we want to expand protected areas significantly, ensure they cover key ecosystems, and guarantee that the protection really works. Greater ambition must be coupled with more funding. The EU should play a role in enforcing basic measures for healthy environments. Infrastructure and other projects supported with European public money should not endanger biodiversity, but rather should help save and restore it globally.
We call for unsustainable and illegal logging to be tracked down better and sanctioned harder. The EU needs stronger tools to address deforestation related to imported food and other products. And Europe's soils must be protected from degradation and restored, also to increase their capacity to retain scarce water.
We want to increase marine protected areas to 20% of our seas. Controls of sulphur emissions from shipping must be extended to all coasts and heavy fuel oil banned in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Circular economy. Our current economy is based on taking resources from nature, making products, using them and then throwing them away. This linear model must be replaced with a circular economy, creating more value and using fewer resources, while making sure this does not lead to more hazardous substances. Instead of continuously consuming more resources, we need to consume smarter and in moderation.
We want products to last longer and fixing them to be made easier by requiring them to be repairable and increasing the duration of warranties to combat planned obsolescence. Companies should be stopped from throwing away edible food as waste. Non-recyclable plastics must be taxed or banned, sustainable alternatives developed, and recycling and reuse targets raised. We are also calling for strict limits on exporting waste and the introduction of taxes on the extraction and import of raw materials.
Farming, food and animals. The way we produce and consume food makes a big difference to our health, environment and animals. We want to reform Europe’s common agricultural policy to move from industrial agriculture and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to sustainable forms of farming, such as organic and agro-ecological solutions. Sustainable agriculture helps cut emissions, save bees, revitalise rural areas and keep our food safe. To protect farm land, we need to stop the urban sprawl urgently.
We want to redirect agricultural subsidies to sustainable farming, based on fair and results-based conditions. Harmful pesticides such as glyphosate should be banned. Trade rules should allow Member States to compensate domestic producers for extra costs due to higher environmental, animal protection or public health standards. To make informed choices, people need to know what their food contains, where it is coming from and how it has been produced. We want to reduce meat consumption in favour of healthier, more sustainable plant-based diets.
Fishing in Europe needs to take place within sustainable limits. Fishing seasonal closures allowing fish stocks to recover should be complied with by all Member States. Illegal fishing must be stopped and imported fish required to meet European conservation standards.
We want to end deep-sea bottom-trawling and other particularly destructive forms of industrial fishing and limit the impact of bottom-contact fisheries on eco-systems.
Animals have the right to live free from abuse, which is why we are calling for a ban on fur farming, transporting live animals long distances and animal testing. Animals on farms should be guaranteed the right to natural behaviour. No public money should go to industrial animal farming.
Environmental justice. A foundation for action on sustainability is strengthening environmental law and better enforcing it at all levels – including taking legal action against those who break it. The right to information must be guaranteed and access to environmental justice improved for citizens and civil society organisations. The EU needs to produce a new and ambitious environment action programme. We also call for establishing an international environmental court to address the most serious violations of international environmental law.
Preserving the environment is also a social issue. Environmental damage often hits disproportionately hard those who are already struggling, such as low-income communities and poor countries – not to mention future generations. Big construction projects must only be implemented after proper consultations with local people. We stand for environmental justice.
The transition to a green economy will not happen overnight and it will not always be easy. Workers and regions need a just transition to sustainable livelihoods. A special European scheme should be set up to finance retraining and moving to new jobs, providing social security and alleviating fears.
Shared prosperity in a fair economy and a union of solidarity
We want to build a social Europe with a sustainable economy and tax justice. Everyone in Europe should have the right to a decent income and basic public services. We need to reform the economic system so that it works for the people and respects planetary boundaries. A Green New Deal would channel billions into sustainable investments and innovation. By sharing the benefits of the economy, we can keep everyone onboard.
Decades of European cooperation have succeeded in building an economic union. Now we need to take the next step and make the EU serve all people. We need to make sure that social justice is put at the heart of our Union; we need to build a truly social Europe.
Poverty. Today, one in four people in Europe live at risk of poverty and social exclusion – including 25 million children. This is unacceptable. When Europe as a whole is wealthier than ever before, everybody deserves a decent standard of living.
Reducing poverty and tackling inequalities must be a cornerstone of all economic and social policies. We reject austerity measures that have resulted in increasing poverty and deteriorating public services.
Social rights. To make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality, we call for introducing European legislation to secure adequate minimum income schemes in all European countries. This adequate level of social support would be provided by Member States to all people without other sources of income, taking the local living standards and differences in national systems into account and aiming at equivalent protection to all citizens. Existing standards cannot be lowered. We also believe bold visions are needed, which could be supported by studies and trials on a universal basic income.
Europe needs to secure for everyone essential social rights, such as access to healthcare, housing and education. Public investments in social, affordable and energy-efficient housing should be supported with European funds. We must take a European approach towards public housing policy and protect those who rent properties from exploitation.
Health. The EU should drive Member States to achieve universal health coverage, reduce health inequalities and ensure access to medicines. We want more focus on preventing both physical and mental health problems, not just treating them.
Drug policy needs to be based on evidence, not prejudice. European countries should reform drug policies to help – not punish – people suffering from substance abuse.
Inclusion and cohesion. Europe should not leave anyone behind – be it remote or sparsely populated regions or vulnerable groups of people. We want to strengthen territorial cohesion by reducing regional disparities both within and between Member States, providing people with equal opportunities regardless of where they are born or live.
Europe needs to take a leading role in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, both internally and worldwide. We want to make infrastructure, transport and communications accessible. People with disabilities must be included in decisions which concern them, including having full access to voting.
Work. Work can provide income, community and purpose. To create quality jobs and prepare job-seekers for them, a wide range of measures is needed from both businesses and society, from retraining and upskilling to supporting social entrepreneurship and setting up small businesses.
Labour rights for all are a cornerstone of a prosperous and inclusive society. We support the right of workers to organise in trade unions as well as collective bargaining, social dialogue and worker participation.
Europe must enable and protect the cross-border movement of workers so that people do not fall through nationally fragmented social systems. A European social security number and better recognition of professions would facilitate working in other countries. We want to protect the rights of migrant workers and combat all forms of labour exploitation and forced labour in Europe.
About one in ten people with a job is at risk of poverty in Europe. We want to update labour rules and welfare regimes so that they recognise the changing nature of work, also protecting self-employed people and workers in the gig and platform economy. One solution could be an unemployment insurance for the euro-zone, and open to others who wish to take part, that guarantees basic coverage, supplemented by national unemployment benefits.
Work life must be safe, healthy and fair. Work-related stress is one of the main causes of lost working days and workers’ ill-being. That is why we call for addressing psychosocial health risks better in EU legislation. Reducing and redistributing working hours should be made easier when workers so desire – for instance, when parents return to work from parental leave. We also want all countries to secure paid sick leave for workers.
Education, research and culture. Education is a tool for people to improve their lives, understand the world and engage in society. It is also an investment in the future as educated and skilled people are the foundation of both a vibrant economy and functioning democracy. We want to make Europe the world leader in both education and research.
Our long-term vision is free and accessible education for all to reduce education inequality. Education should equip people to develop the skills needed in the green information economy. Everyone should have the opportunity for lifelong learning and career changes.
Europe needs to build on knowledge and science. We want to increase funding for independent research and innovation considerably to meet big societal challenges, following the success of the Horizon 2020 programme.
We also call for multiplying European funding for student exchange. The Erasmus+ exchange must be broadened and strengthened to really enable people from all backgrounds to work, train or study in another country.
Vibrant arts and culture are important both in their own right and as sources of well-being, jobs and income. We support cultural diversity, artistic freedom and access to culture for everyone.
We recognise that the many diverse identities we hold across Europe play an important role in defending democracy. Investment in culture can allow new connections and traditions to be forged, bringing communities together and strengthening a sense of belonging. We believe access to culture is a human right. A number of initiatives in the cultural field do exist at the EU level, such as Creative Europe for which the budget should be increased.
Youth. Years after the financial crisis, young Europeans continue to face a number of challenges. In some countries, youth unemployment is still as high as 40%. Many feel understandable anxiety about the future, witnessing the inaction by status-quo politicians.
We stand with young people, building societies where they have full access to social protection and rights, such as housing, education and political participation. Our proposal on minimum income would also guarantee better social security for young people. We call for quality jobs, a ban on discriminatory youth wages and proper pay for internships.
The European Youth Guarantee, promising a young person employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or an internship within four months after finishing education, must be implemented much more effectively. The Youth Guarantee should be made mandatory for all Member States; making the guarantee of stable, paid and quality employment its primary goal. Sufficient funding for the volunteering strand of the European Solidarity Corps would give young people the opportunity and the financial means to develop their own volunteering projects.
Elderly. The proportion of older people is rising rapidly. With the right enabling framework, senior Europeans have a lot to offer, from passing on experience at work to volunteering in civil society, which should lead to some sort of recognition No one should need to live in poverty because they have retired.
Senior workers must also have the right to lifelong learning. People should be allowed to retire flexibly, for example by combining reduced working hours with part-time pensions. We need to fight prejudice and discrimination against ageing workers.
Economy. To meet the needs of everyone while remaining within planetary environmental boundaries, we need to update our economic system. Moving towards a truly circular zero-emission economy provides significant opportunities both for people and the environment.
Seizing the opportunities of digitisation, artificial intelligence and robotisation – while addressing their challenges and risks – can strengthen the European economy. Workers facing this transition should be supported to adjust to the evolving situation.
There is also large potential in the fair, social, collaborative and care economy. New forms of economy can combine profitability with social inclusion and democratic governance. European regulation should enable alternative tools, such as cooperatives, crowdfunding and social entrepreneurship.
Everyone should have access to shared resources – also known as ‘commons’ – such as clean air and water, the internet or knowledge. Communities throughout Europe should be encouraged to develop sustainable and accessible alternatives to the current dominant roles of the market economy and its lobbies.
Gross domestic product alone is an inadequate measure of economic progress. We want to complement it with alternative metrics that reflect social and environmental concerns.
Industry and markets. Manufacturing is a key economic driver in the EU, providing over 100 million direct and indirect jobs. Green industrial policy is aimed at innovation and smart solutions, making products and processes more energy- and resource-efficient.
Completing the single market can bring jobs and prosperity, when they are coupled with ambitious common rules to protect labour standards, consumer rights and public services. There is particularly large untapped potential in digital and other services while securing social services and rights for workers and consumers. Globalisation has created global corporations out of reach for national checks and balances. We call for an effective and independent EU authority for digital sector supervision in order to control and limit the market power of big corporations.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the European economy. We strive to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs and to support existing ones, in particular female entrepreneurs, family businesses and migrants. Smarter regulation should guarantee SMEs a fair playing field with big companies and competition regulation must be reformed accordingly. Universities should be encouraged to work with SMEs to explore innovations. It is also important that the EU protects European jobs and business against unfair dumping of imports and offshoring. Foreign direct investment from outside the EU must not be allowed to undermine security and public order.
More sustainable public procurement can be a driving force to green the economy. We want a more systematic use of social, environmental and fair-trade criteria when public bodies buy products and services.
Trade. The trade treaties proposed so far – such as CETA, TTIP and TISA – are seriously flawed. Negotiated in secrecy, they have neglected concerns about social rights, public services and the environment. We especially reject privileged dispute settlement rights for investors which undermine democracy.
We will continue to work for open and fair-trade policies, provided they are based on international rules, transparent processes and that they enhance – not endanger – the rights of workers, farmers and consumers, animal welfare and the protection of health and the environment. We favour progress in the WTO and multilateral agreements over bilateral trade deals. The Paris Agreement, international labour standards rules and Sustainable Development Goals must form the foundation of trade treaties.
Europe needs to make sure that companies meet high standards both inside and outside the EU. The Union and Member States must introduce rules to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – and guarantee people access to justice when companies break these rules. Countries should also work towards a strong international treaty to the same effect. Multinational companies should be required to exercise due diligence throughout their supply chain to make sure their business is not in breach of human rights or sustainable development.
Taxes. Taxation can be a powerful tool for fairness and sustainability. We are advocating for an ecological tax reform: taxing more what we want less of (resource use and pollution) and taxing less what we want more of (jobs). Europe should require Member States to raise taxes on fossil fuels and consider environmental taxes at the European level, for example on flights and plastics.
All too often, poor people have to pay proportionally higher taxes than the wealthy and small business owners more than big corporations. Europe must close the loopholes that allow the well-off to avoid taxes, levelling the playing field and helping to finance much-needed public investments.
It is particularly important to tackle tax fraud and money laundering which help to finance organised crime. We call for improving anti-money-laundering rules and strengthening European investigation powers.
To establish tax justice, Europe must take stronger measures to close tax havens, fight evasion and tax avoidance, both outside and inside the Union. More harmonisation on what is taxed and how, such as a strong common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) for large companies and a minimum corporate tax rate, would reduce harmful competition between Member States. Beyond committing to this common framework, Member States should retain the ability to address inherent disadvantages in their economies. Benefits emanating from the reduction of tax avoidance should in turn also be utilised for European investments to decrease social inequality and support disadvantaged and peripheral communities. Requirements for multinational companies to report publicly where they pay taxes must be strengthened.
Taxation must be fit for our globalised economy. We must introduce stronger measures to combat market manipulation, abusive speculation and insider trading and improve transparency on the financial markets. We propose a financial transaction tax to limit speculation and to finance sustainable investments. Europe also needs to find a fair and functional way to tax digital services and manage crypto-currencies.
Financial markets and investments. To ensure financial stability and prevent future crises, we must address systemic risks and stop financial institutions getting too big to fail. Banks need higher capital requirements and banking crucial to the real economy must be separated from trading. Europe needs stronger financial regulation to ensure that the financial sector fully contributes to a resilient and sustainable economy.
European economic rules must encourage, not hinder, responsible social investments. Improving childcare, basic education, worker training and affordable housing will all help to increase employment and reduce social inequality. Everyone should be guaranteed access to basic financial services. Making the necessary transition to a sustainable economy will require large investments. We propose a sizeable Green New Deal to finance and leverage investments into areas such as cross-border train connections, renewable energy, sustainable innovation and just transition, particularly in the poorer Member States.
People power and respect for each other in a diverse and feminist Europe
Europe is a union built on shared values. The EU must fight for equal rights for all and against any discrimination. Everyone should have the right to be, believe in what, and love who they want. We want to build a feminist and inclusive Union that champions gender equality, human rights, democracy and diversity. Europe needs to be a strong global voice for solidarity, human development and peace.
Democracy, the rule of law and human rights have been increasingly challenged both within Europe and internationally. In these troubled times, Europe can be a beacon of hope. The Union must play a stronger role in defending and deepening the foundations of open societies. We want a vibrant democracy on all levels: from local to regional, national, European and international.
Democracy and civic rights. We want to support civil society in defending and deepening democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Europe also needs to ramp up its capacity to defend against outside interference, such as attempts to influence elections, spread disinformation and fuel hatred. However, such measures should not lead to weakening other rights.
Democracy can only function when it is supported by free speech and an independent media. We want to increase support for investigative journalism and defend journalists under threat. Whistle-blowers – people exposing information in the public interest – must be vigorously protected.
In an increasingly digital world, protecting freedom and human rights online is of growing importance. We defend net neutrality – the principle that all data must be treated equally – as a foundation of the open internet. The recently introduced European data protection rules must be fully implemented. From the start, basic settings should be set in a way that they provide the best data protection and security possible. Electronical communication has to be end-to-end encrypted. We strongly reject any kind of data retention without cause.
The protection of human dignity requires that we set limits to the delegation of important decisions about our lives to algorithms. Humans should be in command of the workings of algorithms and robots. Algorithms must be open to public scrutiny and free from discrimination. Europe needs to play a bigger role in shaping international rules.
We propose setting the age of voting and candidacy at 16 years in the European elections. This would give youth a stronger voice in making decisions that shape our common future. We also call for improving civic education both within and outside of schools.
Transparency and participation. We want to radically increase transparency in European institutions, including the European Central Bank. Citizens have the right to know how decisions are made and how their money is spent. All positions taken by Member States in the Council should be made public. We want a mandatory legislative footprint for EU laws, a binding lobby register for all EU institutions and to close the revolving doors between politics and big business by cooling-off phases. These transparency and ethics rules should be supervised by an independent body at the EU level. Decisions must be based on best available evidence and genuine consultation with stakeholders.
The European Citizens’ Initiative is a welcome mechanism to engage people in European decision-making. However, its promise has not fully materialised due to bureaucratic hurdles and poor political support from the European Commission. The procedures should be simplified, and it should be possible for citizens to propose reforming the EU treaties. The rules must also be enhanced so that initiatives get a response and lead to concrete action.
Feminism and gender equality. With the current pace of achieving gender equality in Europe, it would still take 70 years to reach equal pay, 40 years until domestic work is equally shared and 20 years to achieve equal representation in politics. We are not willing to wait that long.
Gender equality is at the heart of Green policies. We want strong laws on equal pay for equal work. Because women in Europe still do around two-thirds of unpaid work at home, parental leave must be lengthened and distributed more equally between parents. We want to offer better protection for pregnant workers. We also call for a real improvement in accessible and affordable high-quality childcare.
Gender quotas on the boards of big companies and parity in the executive committees of EU institutions would help to better represent women in decision-making. To achieve equality in Europe, people of different genders must benefit equally from the EU budget.
We fight for women’s empowerment and self-determination. Europeans still have appallingly unequal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We want to guarantee free and accessible, good-quality and safe sexual and reproductive healthcare and services for all, including abortion. Women’s right to decide on abortion needs to be strengthened – especially where it is particularly limited. Information about contraception and abortion should be readily available in all countries.
Europe must fight gender-based violence with determination. All European countries must implement the Istanbul Convention as a matter of priority.
Diversity. We are proud that Europe is diverse and colourful. We strongly condemn and fight any kind of discrimination and hate crimes on the basis of – but not limited to – gender and sexual identity, class, ethnicity and their intersections. We want all policies and services to recognise the true diversity of people and their families – and the contribution they make to our societies.
People belonging to sexual and gender minorities (LGBTIQ*) should enjoy equal rights across Europe. Relationships of same-sex couples and their families need to be recognised equally and the freedom of movement of rainbow families ensured. People should have the right to determine their gender identity and expression, including having access to legal gender recognition. We strongly reject the forced sterilisation of trans people.
Migration and refugees. People have always migrated for various reasons – and always will. We need to make sure that all migrants are treated with dignity and regard for their basic human rights. Building walls is not an option, nor is allowing the Mediterranean to become a mass grave. When newly arrived migrants find a place in our societies, they can contribute both to our economy and culture.
There is an urgent need to find a fair alternative to the current Dublin system which leaves border Member States responsible for refugees. We are working for common standards and common rules for labour mobility and migration, and for sharing responsibility equitably across countries, in the spirit of solidarity. Border controls must ensure that people in need can effectively register an asylum claim, including access to asylum procedures, in accordance with the rule of law. They need to be registered and fairly allocated among the EU Member States. Asylum seekers’ family ties and other meaningful links to a Member State need to be taken into account. We also want to introduce resettlement and humanitarian visas for refugees in third countries.
We want the Union to support countries, regions and cities welcoming a large share of refugees or migrants. Helping asylum seekers should never be criminalised – instead, the EU should support rescue actions. People do not belong in prison simply for seeking asylum. Asylum seekers should be guaranteed access to legal help.
The European Parliament should be given democratic scrutiny on the implementation of border controls, formal and informal agreements with third countries, and asylum and migration policies. We reject any plans for controlled centres or regional disembarkation platforms outside of the EU.
Europe must establish legal and safe channels for migration. We also need to do a better job at providing opportunities for newly arrived people. Recognising skills learnt in the country of origin, providing language training and fighting racism can all help to integrate newcomers in the labour market. Underlying all actions is respect for diversity, different cultures and languages. Agreements with transit countries should be revised to ensure the proper protection of human rights and EU international commitments.
International solidarity. Europe has always upheld multilateralism and will continue to do so. We have a responsibility to stand up for our values internationally. A natural platform for this is the United Nations. Europe should both defend the UN against attacks and advocate for reforms, including enhancing transparency, accountability and effectiveness.
Europe needs to increase funding for international development and humanitarian action. Member states should allocate at least 0.7% of their economy to supporting people in need abroad, with a strong emphasis on the poorest countries and most vulnerable people.
The Sustainable Development Goals provide a good blueprint for EU activities also abroad. We want to coordinate international development work better between the EU and Member States, avoiding duplication and reducing waste of resources.
Currently, many EU policies undermine the good work the Union is doing on international development. Instead, policies on, for example, trade, fisheries and migration need to support development and sustainability goals, often referred to as policy coherence. By doing so, we also tackle the root causes of forced migration.
Europe has a particular interest and responsibility in our neighbourhood, both in the east and in the south. We are working to make the accession possible of Western Balkan countries, based on European values. We also want to deepen cooperation with eastern partners. For us, promoting high standards of democracy, the rule of law and human rights is a priority for cooperation and financial aid.
Peace and security. The European Union has been at its heart a peace project – helping to maintain peace is a natural role for Europe in the world.
Human security is much broader than the absence of violence. Europe needs to address the diverse security challenges we face, from disinformation by and energy reliance on hostile countries to organised crime and extreme weather fuelled by climate change. Reducing inequalities, protecting the environment and strengthening democracy are sustainable ways to address the root causes of violent threats and build resilient societies.
Europe needs to be much more active in finding peaceful solutions to armed conflicts both in our neighbourhood and beyond. We want to invest heavily in civilian conflict-prevention, mediation, reconciliation and peacekeeping. Addressing the root causes of conflict is easier, cheaper and more humane than dealing with the aftermath. We oppose redirecting European funds towards military purposes. Lasting security and stability cannot be built with weapons.
We call for stopping arms exports to dictators and warring parties. Europe should actively work for international disarmament, including banning nuclear weapons and robots programmed to kill.
EU countries have an obligation to aid and assist those Member States which are victims of armed aggression. To maintain peace, Europe also needs a common security and defence policy. Defence can be both more effective and cheaper when pooling and sharing resources as well as coordinating the efforts of Member States at the European level.
Europe needs to react strongly to crimes against humanity. However, military interventions can only ever be the last resort. Any joint military action must be based on a long-term political strategy, comply with international law and have European Parliament approval. Freedom from violence is also a basic right within Europe. The EU and national authorities need to work harder and better together to prevent and combat terrorism. The Union can provide funding to fight radicalisation, while stricter rules on weapons and ammunition can reduce gun violence.
Ever closer union: reforming the EU to prepare for the future
The European Union needs an update. We strive to make the EU more transparent, democratic, effective and efficient. We work to reform institutions and structures to build a more robust Union that can reconnect with citizens. We want to build a stronger Europe that meets its full potential to improve the lives of people and deal with all the challenges the future might bring.
Future of Europe. The EU must be developed into a full supranational democracy in which public decisions are taken transparently by elected and politically accountable representatives. Opposition from a handful of Member States should not prevent the vast majority moving forward. This is why the unanimity requirement should in general be replaced by normal legislative procedure and simplified enhanced cooperation. The European Parliament must have the power to initiate legislation and to use its co-decision and scrutiny rights in all areas.
We are convinced that the EU should be kept together within the same framework. EU institutions should not be subdivided or replicated. We oppose the creation of new euro-zone-only institutions and support instead establishing a special euro-zone committee in the European Parliament.
Further steps have to be taken towards “an ever-closer Union”. Much can be done within the current treaties: we support either a parliamentary convention open to civil society or an elected constituent assembly, with a mandate co-decided by the European Parliament and Member State representatives acting by qualified majority. The final decision to make treaty changes should be taken through a Union-wide referendum of European citizens. We do not want the vetoes of individual Member States to block such a decision.
We support a democratic future for Europe, where regional and national specificities are represented on an equal footing with the EU’s general interest. For this reason, we call for a system in which the European Parliament, representing EU citizens as a whole and elected partially on transnational lists, co-legislates with a chamber representing Member States. Regions are represented in a strengthened Committee of the Regions.
Budget and monetary policy. The EU needs a substantially more ambitious and effective budget to fulfil its tasks, co-decided by the European Parliament. The increase should be funded largely by own resources such as taxes on pollution and resource use. The budget must also be complemented with bonds to finance projects of general interest. The Union could also explore participatory budgeting, allowing people to have a direct say in how a part of their money is used.
After Brexit, the euro-zone will represent close to four-fifths of EU citizens and more than four-fifths of the economy. Our proposals for the future of the monetary union apply to the euro-zone countries. The euro-zone must have a fiscal capacity which is also open to non-euro-zone Member States, and its members must be able to resort to coordination and solidarity mechanisms. Such tools, as euro-bonds, supporting future-oriented and sustainable investments should be conditioned to social and economic criteria.
Rejecting failed austerity policies, we want social and environmental objectives on an equal footing with the budgetary targets of an updated and reformulated Stability and Growth Pact. This Pact should also be complemented with a Sustainability and Prosperity Pact that defines social, economic and environmental targets based on indicators for the European Monetary Union (EMU) and its member states.
The intergovernmental structures of the euro-zone, such as the Fiscal Compact and European Stability Mechanism (ESM), must be profoundly reformed and integrated into the EU legal framework with the full involvement of the European Parliament. The Eurogroup must become an ordinary body of the Council of Ministers. The banking union must be completed with a workable EU deposit insurance scheme. The European Central Bank statutes must be revised to allow it to act as a last-resort lender for Member States and to provide temporary relief from crisis in government bond markets, and to foster full employment, besides price stability. The conditions for relief need to be defined by democratically accountable legislators at the relevant levels.
Fundamental rights and migration reform. The scope of the Charter of Fundamental Rights should be expanded to apply directly in all areas and Member States, and its capacity to effectively defend individual citizens enhanced. We want to have the right to abortion introduced in the Charter of Fundamental rights. The EU must accelerate its accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and Member States theirs to the EU prosecutor. People and organisations should have access to the European Court of Justice when directly affected by a violation of a Member State or an EU institution.
The Union must use stronger tools – including taking legal action – to intervene when basic European values are undermined. We call for a binding and comprehensive mechanism to monitor the state of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Member States. This should be complemented with political dialogue, swift intervention in case of serious violations and, if necessary, adequate sanctions. Where the rule of law is not guaranteed, national governments may be bypassed to provide European financing directly to local government and organisations. We want to establish a European values instrument to support civil society and promote core values within the EU. We want dramatically better institutional control over EU funds to prevent corruption.
Smarter regulation and sustainable development. Better and smarter regulation can reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and make lives easier. Regulation should take into account the different capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, it must not be a smoke screen to deregulate and roll back necessary protection for people and the environment.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights that the challenges we face are universal and interconnected. The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented across all EU internal and external policies.The Union should adopt a high-level implementation strategy which identifies and addresses the gaps in current policies.
the upcoming election will be decisive for Europe’s future. We want to overcome the status quo and to open a new book for our common European endeavour. The world around us does not stand still and we, in Europe, cannot afford to waste time. European Greens pledge to fight for the policies that we present to you here. Electing more Green European Parliament Members from more countries will help us take these steps forward. We invite all European citizens to support us in these battles.