MEPs are electing a new presidency of the European Parliament against the backdrop of the untimely passing of President David Sassoli. The Left has nominated Sira Rego for President and Dimitrios Papadimoulis for Vice-President.

In today’s plenary address, where candidates presented their programmes, Rego presented herself as the candidate of hope:

“I ask for the support of all those who, like us, recognise themselves in the dignity of those saving lives in the Mediterranean, of working people mobilising for their rights, of the women defying reactionary governments – their governments – and demanding the freedom to decide over their bodies, of the youth occupying the streets seeking real measures to tackle the climate crisis, of those fighting for public services.”

Crucially, she appealed for the renewal of a cordon sanitaire against the far right as its threat to democracy and fundamental rights continues to grow:

“We need to be able to debate in a public space that is not intoxicated by lies. A space that is diverse and pluralistic, like European society. We must reject the far right that only brings fear, hatred and violence, and strives for the rights of all to become privileges for a few. Its attacks on LGBTQI+ people, women and migrants are no coincidence.

“The old formulas for dealing with this threat are showing their limits. The supposed cordon sanitaire of the grand coalition is bursting at the seams and the right is proving porous to extremist approaches. Democracy and progress can only be defended by extending social rights and with a solid material base that leaves no one behind.

“That is why we should remember that European democracies have anti-fascism as an essential feature; indeed, European cohesion has its roots in a continent torn apart by Nazi and fascist barbarism. Constitutions such as the Italian and German ones reflect this post-World War II spirit,” she argued in her plenary address.

Rego called for no compromises to be made on women’s rights and on the eco-social crisis:

“We live in a world with limited resources. The answer cannot be that only a few have rights and access to those resources. We need firm decisions that address the consequences of a climate emergency that is already here.

“That is why we believe that now that we are debating the Future of Europe, we must opt for more democracy. And that means that this Parliament must push for decisions that respond to the great challenges we face in the context of the eco-social crisis.

“We must also champion a fair way out of the crisis that has generated the pandemic, defending employment and public services.

“And of course, this parliament must defend women’s rights. Not one step backwards on our right to decide over our own bodies, not one step backwards on the right to abortion.”

Rego appealed to MEPs to put the public interest first:

“Let us build together a new consensus that puts the common good and social rights at its centre.

“ Let us not give in to discourses that seek authoritarian regression, let us not ally ourselves with those who share their agenda or part of their agenda. That would be an implicit recognition that democracy is losing, let us not give in to the reactionaries and their allies!

“I ask for your support so that together we can build a more democratic, fairer Europe of solidarity, in short, an anti-fascist Europe,” she concluded.

Read full speech here.

European Union & Peace & Solidarity ·

Weaponising influence: EU falls for arms lobby charm offensive

Democracy & Ethics & Rights & liberties & The Left News ·

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Unwrapping the layers of discrimination

Democracy & Ethics & Rights & liberties ·

Protecting the watchdog: Media Freedom Act a win for democracy & journalism