01/03/2014 London MEP Jean Lambert called for a end to austerity policies which are devastating lives in Europe.
The Green MEP chaired a passionate debate which looked at the impact of austerity on lives across the continent and called for an urgent change in direction from European governments.
Speakers at the ‘Austerity in Europe’ event included WDM Director Nick Dreaden, Liverpool TUC activist Clara Paillard and Green Euro candidates Peter Cranie and Maggie Chapman.
With a recent Red Cross report concluding austerity measures were adding to mass unemployment, poverty, racism and despair across the continent, Nick Dreaden said it was a “man-made disaster driven by self-interest of the elite” and warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement – currently being negotiated between the EU and the US – was “the biggest threat we face”.
TUC activist Clara Paillard dismissed the idea that austerity was inevitable as “nonsense” and said people were on the side of policies supported by the Greens such as putting the Royal Mail, rail network and energy companies back into public ownership.
Also present was Green Euro candidate Maggie Chapman who discussed an alternative vision for society being put forward in Scotland (known as the ‘Common Weal’ ), and North West Green Euro candidate Peter Cranie who said redistribution was key to solving austerity, with policies like the Tobin Tax “eminently sensible”.
Speaking after the event, Jean Lambert said: “This debate showed Greens have both the passion and vision to drive forward positive change in Europe.
“With international aid organisations like WDM, Oxfam and Red Cross all warning of the rising tide of unemployment, poverty and despair in Europe, it’s time we said ‘no’ to austerity measures which are devastating lives across the continent.
“Greens in Europe are on the frontline of the battle to ensure that measures taken to stabilise economies must take account of their effect on people’s everyday lives and must not undermine core labour and social rights: we are making some progress but we must not let that slip away.
“The Greens have a positive vision for Europe which will end corporate dominance and refocus capital on public priorities.
“We must fight against the TTIP agreement which threatens the future of our public services like the NHS. And we must work to ensure the Tobin tax becomes reality – a small tax on financial transactions which would make a big impact on lives.
“The European elections are a battle for the very heart of Europe. We don’t need more MEPs who will stand up for the City of London and think human rights get in the way of trade.
“The UK and Europe needs more Greens – working for the common good not corporate greed.”
Red Cross Report: Think differently. Humanitarian impacts of the economic crisis in Europe.