Greenpeace demonstrates for a fairer and greener Europe at EU summit
Bratislava – This morning in Bratislava 29 Greenpeace activists from Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia demonstrated in support of a fairer and greener Europe, just as the leaders of 27 countries prepared to meet to discuss the future of the EU. Greenpeace called on the leaders to build a Europe based on the founding values at the core of the EU, putting the interests of people and the planet first.
The activists displayed a 6×4 metres banner on the banks of the Danube reading “Don’t trade away Europe”, while volunteers wore t-shirts that together formed the words “solidarity” and “peace”.
Greenpeace warned that the politics of hate, privilege, deregulation and unfair trade and tax policies have eroded public trust in politics and resulted in discrimination and social exclusion. It is time for Europe’s leaders to refocus their attention on the wellbeing of people and the planet, said Greenpeace.
Ahead of the Bratislava summit, Greenpeace, together with 177 European and national civil society organisations and trade unions, addressed European leaders a common statement, asking them to listen to people’s concerns and turn their attention to social right and environmental protection.
Greenpeace EU deputy director Saskia Richartz said:“Our governments are in Bratislava to salvage European cooperation, but they are gradually abandoning the fundamental values that the EU was built on. Fear, discrimination and austerity are replacing peace, human rights and solidarity. But people want more equality and social and environmental protection. They reject corporate privilege and unfair trade deals like TTIP and CETA. To save Europe, our leaders need to stop pandering to extremists and start delivering policies that work for everyone.”
The opening articles of the EU treaties underline the EU’s fundamental principles of peace, democracy, equality and human rights. They also highlight the importance of non-discrimination, tolerance, and solidarity, as well as social progress and environmental protection.
Unfair trade deals like TTIP (between the EU and the US) and CETA (between the EU and Canada) protect foreign investments above all else. They give corporations exclusive rights to challenge environmental, health and labour standards in special bodies that bypass national court systems. The deal has come under fire for undermining democracy and public protection.
Millions have signed petitions and taken to the streets in defence of EU standards on food safety, toxic chemicals, healthcare and workers’ rights. Europe’s governments have been slow to respond to the vast and growing public opposition to TTIP and CETA, including from NGOs, the health sector and businesses. But recent statements by several leading politicians (France, Germany) have signalled that a rejection of these trade deals is brewing.
Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU deputy director (in Bratislava): mobile +32 495 290 028
Images from today’s demonstration will be available here.
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.