Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (12) A food revolution

fresh food 

 

Our food chain is malfunctioning. Industrial agriculture, based on pesticides, monocultures and an overuse of antibiotics, is thriving at the expense of our health, the environment and increased animal suffering. Recurring food scandals have made consumers justifiably insecure about what we are eating and where it comes from.

The Greens want to promote sustainable, healthy, tasty, diverse and ethical food, not standardised, tasteless food designed simply to look good on supermarket shelves. This means encouraging local production chains, organic farming and fair trade products from developing countries. We have succeeded in fighting several misleading practices, and in improving country of origin and nanoingredients labelling. We will continue to demand improved transparency in food labelling. With Europe throwing away 90 million tons of food annually, we also want action to cut down on food waste. We have launched a food revolution, increasing public awareness, personal engagement and participative democracy in determining and improving food policies throughout Europe. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Better Food, Better Lives.)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (11) GMOs

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We have been consistent in our opposition to genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in food and farming and in our support for a GMO-free Europe. Greens will continue to lead the fight for GMO free food and against cultivating GMOs here, together with a ban on importing GMOs for animal feedstuffs. We must insist on the right to make our own rules and impose mandatory GMO labeling.

European consumers have the right to know what their food is composed of and where it comes from. Any research on GMOs should be limited to impact assessments including gene flow and cross contamination. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : No to GMOs)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (10) Taming the Financial Industry

banking union 

Five years after the outset of the financial crisis, our system remains dominated by banks that are too big or too interconnected to fail and therefore too dangerous. Bank bail-outs have cost billions to the European taxpayers; this should never happen again. We want to ensure a properly sized, diverse and resilient financial sector that serves society and helps mobilise sustainable investments in the real economy. We propose stringent rules for the separation of banking activities into those which are essential to society and those which are not. Greens have contributed strongly to ensuring that financial products and activities which produce no benefit for the real economy and have the potential to destabilise the financial system can be banned and taken off the European market. European authorities should make use of this possibility. Only financial products and activities which demonstrate benefits for society must be authorized. Our initiatives have outlawed naked speculation on sovereign debt; curbed bankers’ bonuses; forced banks to disclose activities in tax havens; submitted the European Central Bank´s banking supervision to more democratic accountability.

Greens are proud of achievements in this domain.

Now we need to build on these successes. We want to ensure consumers receive good, independent advice on all financial services. Financial services legislation must not support further concentration of market power to the detriment of small sustainable banks. We advocate a European Banking Union, combining a strong common oversight of our banks, a common authority and fund to restructure failing banks and a common system of insurance for deposits up to €100,000 or equivalent. EU institutions must also contribute to tackling financial short-termism that limits the level of sustainability ambition in strategic investment decisions.

 

(EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Bringing Financial Industry under Control)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (9) Greening Agriculture

organic agriculture

The European Parliament now has equal responsibility for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. It is time to make our farming climate-smart, sustainable, fair and ethically sound. We want resilient, biologically diverse, healthy and robust agro-ecosystems that not only adapt to climate change but mitigate it.

We want to see a system which allows for a much fairer distribution of public funds, including more support for small farmers, for organic farming, for conventional farmers who want to green their production methods and for local production and sale, which brings farmers closer to consumers.

Farmers deserve a decent price for their products and corporate buyers should not be allowed to drive down farm-gate prices below sustainable levels.

We need to increase soil fertility, drastically cut the inputs of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, eliminate harmful export subsidies and move away from intensive industrial farming. We will continue our campaign for fair and unrestricted access to plant breeding material and against the patenting of plants and animals. We oppose the further privatisation of seeds and plant material in EU rules on seeds and we will keep fighting against the corporate control of the seed industry which makes farmers reliant on seed designed specifically for use with chemical fertilisers and pesticides, instead of allowing them to save and breed their own seed and adapt their crops to changing local conditions.

Biodiversity loss and excessive pesticide use has meant habitat destruction and led to a massive decline in bee and other insect populations, which disturbs natural pollination of many plants and crops. If we want healthy local fruit and vegetables, we must ‘give bees a chance’.

(EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Greening Agriculture)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (8) Gender Equality

 

gender democracy

Gender democracy means that women are part of the public life of our societies and take decisions in institutions and companies on an equal footing with men. The Greens believe that the EU’s response must be to mainstream gender issues at all policy levels. We support the Commission in its work on legally binding quotas for women in corporate boardrooms. However, at the present pace it would take more than 50 years until 40% of all boardroom members of European companies arewomen. Therefore, we demand a quota to achieve this objective by 2020.

To reach equality, we believe that the EU should adopt a more comprehensive policy approach against gender-based violence, including EU legislation in the form of a directive proposing measures to address violence against women based on policy, prevention, protection, prosecution, provision and partnership. The EU Convention on Human Rights requires all EU member states to define rape and sexual violence against women within marriage and intimate informal relationships as a crime. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Without Gender Equality there is no Democracy)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (7) Citizens: the decision makers

European Citizens' Initiative

 

We want to strengthen the opportunities for EU’s citizens to influence decisions. We want to work for more participatory democracy. Greens helped introduce the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which allows for EU citizens to call on the European Commission to make legislative proposals. Now it is time to take the next step. We want to broaden the scope of the ECI and make it more efficient and citizen-friendly. We also want to create a legal basis for EU-wide referenda.

Where citizens are being deprived of their rights in an EU member state without remedy from that country’s judicial system they should have the possibility of taking collective legal action in the EU’s Court of Justice. We will continue to fight hard against the well-established and well-funded lobbies like the agro-chemical industry or the giant seed companies. We are calling for food democracy, where citizens reclaim control over what they eat and can create fair and sustainable food production and supply systems.

(EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Citizens as European decision makers)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (6) Sustainability

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Sustainability must be put at the heart of every major economic decision. We want to see environmental and biodiversity protection and sustainable development given international priority.

We propose the creation of a World Environment Organisation by combining and expanding the role of the different disjointed agencies that already exist within the United Nations. We cannot measure the quality of life only in coarse monetary terms: we need new indicators to complement and extend the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of sustainable prosperity and well-being.

The diverse natural environment in Europe is beautiful and has a value beyond money. The Greens know that sustainable development means managing natural resources wisely so that our children and our children’s children will still have a viable planet to live on. We are living way beyond our means by consuming natural resources at a rate at which they cannot be renewed, and by polluting the air, soil and water with hazardous substances. We want to reduce our ecological footprint and resource consumption and ensure that goods are fit for re-use, repair and recycling in place of the designed for-the-dump approach. The ultimate goal should be a closed-loop society, where non-hazardouswaste from one sector becomes an input for another.

(EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Sustainability is the Key)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (5) Lobbyists, fraud and corruption

EU.lobbying 

The EU needs a stronger anti-corruption policy and more effective instruments against organized crime to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, and also to strengthen the European economy.

Corrupt behaviour by EU officials or parliamentarians in their relations with lobbyists must be met with very strong reactions. Big business still influences the Commission too much. Almost 80% of all stakeholders appointed by the Commission represent corporate interests, despite a commitment to change.

Greens also fight to tackle the problem of “revolving doors” where top bureaucrats and politicians in European institutions join private organizations which they were previously responsible for regulating. We want to safeguard democracy from corruption by introducing robust regulation and transparency for the financing of political parties, candidates and election campaigns. We want to provide the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Auditors with stronger tools to control the way in which EU resources are spent and to act against corruption both within the EU institutions and in the case of serious problems within the member states.

(EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Fight Fraud and Corruption)

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto: (4) Asylum and Migration

 

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that in 2013 there were almost 40,000,000 displaced persons in the world, of which almost half are refugees outside their own country. The UN indicates that 200,000 of these refugees urgently need to be resettled every year, but only half of them find a new home; more worryingly only 4,500 are resettled in the European Union – compared to 80,000 per year in the USA. Thousands of people die on Europe’s external borders every year, because of ever stricter controls and because the means of legal entry into the EU remain limited. The EU has a duty to ensure that these people can seek protection. We need more efforts to establish an asylum system worth its name. The European Border Agency FRONTEX is the wrong agent for that and member states are violating human rights in their border policies. We need greater efforts by the EU as well as member states and more coordination for ‘rescues at sea’, and we need legal and safe ways for entry, for example with humanitarian visas. We have to get rid of the current rules (the ‘Dublin Regulation’) that force refugees to apply for asylum only in the country where they first entered the EU. We should, in our foreign relations as well as our trade and development policies, address the issues which force people to migrate. Greens have been successful in the fight for the creation of an EU Joint Resettlement Programme as well as for funds for emergency resettlement of refugees facing a humanitarian crisis. EU member states must do everything they can to make full use of these funds and show solidarity, not only amongst each other, but also with troubled neighbouring regions.. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : Fighting for Fair Asylum and Migration Policies).

Snippets from the EGP Manifesto : (3) A digital Bill of Rights

Digital Rights and Responsibilities

 

The Greens in the European Parliament are at the forefront of the fight for digital rights. We helped stop the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) and we are fighting for strong protection of personal data, for the right to privacy and for strict net neutrality. Now it is time to defend and protect both European citizens and the internet from pervasive corporate and governmental surveillance and to safeguard fundamental rights in the digital age. Personal data belongs to individual citizens, not to companies or governments. Privacy must be respected. The data retention law, which obliges telecom providers to store data about whom citizens communicate with, is a serious mistake and must be abolished.*   Governments have to abide by their own laws. Whilst national security is important, personal freedoms and liberties must not be overridden. Governments must ensure that national security agencies work for all citizens to secure freedom and liberty for everybody. (EGP 2014 Manifesto section entitled  : A Digital Bill of Rights).

 

* The European Court of Justice has early in April 2014 declared as invalid the Data Retention Directive.