How many more crises will it take for the EU to finally draw the right conclusions? This year’s State of the Union address should have been European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s apology to European citizens.
Millions can no longer cope with the staggering price increases while their wages stagnate and shareholder dividends surge. Now is not the time for speeches that don’t respond to the daily concerns of European citizens.
Left Co-President Manon Aubry brought bills into the chamber sent to her by citizens to show von der Leyen & MEPs. They came from people unsure if they will be able to afford heating this winter, people paying exorbitant amounts for basic energy and forced to choose between heat & light. “Send the bills to Moscow,” replied the Commission President.
“This is not a crisis for everyone,” Aubry said.
While 99% of citizens are struggling, a handful of billionaires go back and forth between Paris and Ibiza in private jets in the middle of a heat wave. This is the real state of the European Union.
“This crisis is not only the result of the terrible war in Ukraine and the heinous blackmail of Putin. It is also the product of an economic system whose flaws the European Commission is obliged to recognise today,” Aubry said.
And when it comes to climate, while Europe has just experienced the hottest summer in history, the European Commission is back to signing free trade agreements with a huge impact on climate change. “Our planet is burning, citizens are being told to turn off their wifi and the European Commission insists on importing milk and meat from New Zealand, more than 19,000 km away.”
“In the energy market, we’ve seen the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen celebrating the virtues of the market at the start of her mandate. We see the result today: an unsustainable situation which alone illustrates the crisis of this system. Patches will not be enough: prices must be frozen at pre-crisis levels and energy must be under public control. Because it is a common good like water, health, nature and everything we need to live.”
Also speaking in the State of the Union debate, Malin Björk MEP (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) said:
I expect the Commission to do more to stop far-right and right-wing authoritarian forces across Europe. In the European Parliament, we will continue to demand tough measures against countries like Hungary and Poland, which trample on democracy and the rule of law. We will continue to stand up for women’s right to decide over their own bodies. We will continue to stand up for the rights of LGBTQI people. That a candidate country tries to ban a pride celebration is unacceptable. Free media, independent courts and a vibrant civil society are not a luxury, they are a prerequisite.