Seven GUE/NGL MEPs are currently in Luxembourg for two days of discussions on tax justice following the Luxleaks scandal, TTIP campaigning and preparation for the COP21 climate meeting in Paris.
Held during the Luxembourgish Presidency of the European Union, the meetings will foster stronger links between GUE/NGL and the Luxembourgish left political party, déi Lénk, as well as Luxembourgish trade unions and TTIP campaigners.
As part of the meetings, Stéphanie Gibaud, whistleblower in the tax evasion practices of the UBS banking group, and Sakharov Prize nominee, shared her experiences and called for better regulation of banks and protection of whistleblowers.
A press conference was held in which Portuguese MEP, Marisa Matias, told reporters: “We need to continue the work of the European Parliament's TAXE committee. Corporations must pay taxes and whistleblowers must be protected.”
During the panel discussion on TTIP, Spanish MEP, Tania González Peñas, told the group that: “While the European Commission is pushing ahead with the TTIP negotiations, over 3 million citizens have signed the STOP TTIP petiton, 250,000 people have marched in Berlin and opposition is growing across Europe.”
Irish MEP, Matt Carthy, commented: “I believe we as citizens have the power to come together and stop this agreement. We are now seeing more and more people, organisations and local governments coming out against this agreement that is not in the interests of anyone but multinational companies.”
Greek MEP, Stelios Kouloglou, called for a broad range of progressive politicians and citizens groups to continue to resist TTIP and similar trade agreements across Europe and to develop new and coordinated strategies against them.
Speaking on the upcoming climate negotiations at the COP 21 meeting in Paris, Spanish MEP, Lidia Senra, commented: “To make real progress against climate change, we need to start focusing on reducing consumption and we must move away from the export-driven model of agriculture.”
German MEP, Stefan Eck, added: “COP21 is certainly a good opportunity to negotiate and deliver something. But I have to say it is a scandal that agriculture emissions are not on the Paris agenda. It seems that the steak on the plate is more important than the climate. Bon appétit!”.
On the topic of the growing popularity of left-wing political parties around Europe, Cypriot MEP, Neoklis Sylikiotis, told reporters: “We are seeing a strong movement to the left among voters across Europe. Austerity policies are driving people to seek alternatives. We are hoping and expecting to see this trend continue in upcoming elections in Spain and Ireland.”
The meetings are currently being held in the European Parliament building in Luxembourg City.