Commission President von der Leyen is in complete denial about the gravity of the moment as the EU grapples with its biggest recession ever and faces an existential crisis and moral reckoning, Left MEPs said about today’s State of the European Union speech.  

As millions of Europeans struggle to make ends meet, as we face climate chaos and  humanitarian calamity at Europe’s borders – citizens deserve a bold executive that inspires with transformative alternatives to our broken system, the opposite of the current EU leadership. 

Co-President Manon Aubry faced off Ms. von der Leyen in the plenary chamber: 

“We must be clear about the social crisis that has struck, hitting frontline workers, who became  the first to be sacrificed by companies like Sanofi or Auchan in layoffs after profiting from the pandemic

“We must be clear about the crisis of inequality, which is widening when the top 25 billionaires in the world saw their wealth increase by more than 200 billion between March and May.

“We must be clear about the crisis of European solidarity, when a small number of tax havens plunder their neighbours in organized tax evasion on an industrial scale.

“We must be clear about the accelerating ecological crisis and the many worrying warning signals: the proliferation of fires, increasingly frequent heat waves, a dramatic decline in biodiversity. 

“We must be clear in the face of the moral crisis that is poisoning us. It is its own downfall that the European Union coldly contemplates in the flames that ravage the Moria migrant camp.

“Finally, we must be clear about the crisis of rule of law, which is fracturing the European Union as Poland and Hungary continue to sink into abject authoritarianism that puts minorities in danger.”

Aubry demanded a radical break from the past as the only path at the level of the challenges facing the EU and the world: 

“To face the urgency of the moment, we must change everything: our compass must be the need to make an ecological and social break

“It must be based on public planning and the creation of sustainable jobs on a large scale: in transport, freight, housing insulation, energy transition.

“It must be financed by the restoration of tax justice, the taxation of crisis profiteers, the taxation of the rich and the end of European tax havens. President, you spoke for over an hour and didn’t mention tax justice!

“It cannot take place without a contribution from the European Central Bank, by at least canceling the public debts it holds

“It must start now, as part of an ambitious stimulus plan, where every euro of public money is conditional on social and ecological returns on employment and the climate.”

Speaking in Brussels, Co-President Martin Schirdewan called for a return to our commitment to universal human rights: 

“The pandemic has highlighted and worsened inequalities and injustices across the EU. We need a recovery strategy that puts people and communities first, and tackles the major challenges we face with regard to the climate, economic inequality, human rights and digitalisation. Climate policy must be based on the goals of the Paris Agreement – not the interests of corporations like BlackRock.

“Universal human rights are violated every day at the external borders. The Moria tragedy is a disgraceful manifestation of the EU’s failures. We urgently need a European migration policy based on solidarity and human rights law.

“We also face the challenge of designing a successful digitalisation strategy, which ensures that platform workers have robust employment rights and adequate incomes. The tech giants must be taxed fairly, and regulated in a way that takes on monopolies such as Facebook, Amazon and Google,” Schirdewan concluded. 

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