Plenary Focus - November 2015
At the Valletta Summit, European leaders once again damaged the idea of a cosmopolitan European Union safeguarding human rights. They decided to further externalise EU borders to third countries and increase the fight against refugees. The EU and its member states are pushing African countries, including dictatorships such as in Eritrea and Sudan, to prevent refugees from leaving their countries and to take back those deported from Europe. In return, the EU offers more than €1.8 billion mainly to extend border controls. Instead, we ask for safe and legal pathways for refugees and migrants into Europe and a radical change of the EU’s development and trade policy.
Paris terrorist attacks
We are aware of the trap set by our enemies; by striking harder and harder they hope to divide us. And from this point of view, the worst may be yet to come. We must be clear because if we deny it, the reality will only get the better of us. The reality is that we must eradicate the ‘Daesh’ monstrosity. It is radical Islam in Europe against which we must fight. We must reject all confusion to save our unity.
TAXE Committee Report
GUE/NGL played a key role in the investigations in sweetheart tax deals with multinational corporations. While the report of the Special TAXE Committee picks up many of our group proposals, it lacks ambition in key areas and the mandate of TAXE remains unfulfilled. TAXE could not access crucial documents and the report does not adequately address the political responsibility of architects of the tax cartel such as Commission President Juncker.
Prevention of radicalisation
We were able to obtain a number of good results like calls for funding for NGOs and prevention pro- grammes, including support for front-line workers and a call for investment in social and neighbourhood projects. However, the request to adopt the PNR directive, to enhance the EU’s border controls, to reinforce EU agencies such as EUROPOL and to cooperate with the League of Arab States, were unac- ceptable. Extremely problematic for the GUE/NGL group was also the approach taken on the prevention of violent radicalisation on the internet, stating that internet companies and service providers have a legal responsibility to cooperate with member states’ authorities on two levels: by deleting any illegal content, and by promoting attractive narratives on the society in which we live
Violence against women
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the European Parliament sends yet another strong signal that we want to see an EU legal instrument against all forms of violence against women and girls, and that we expect all member states to rapidly ratify the Istanbul Conven- tion. Eradicating gender-based violence is a question of basic human rights, and an absolute central part of the struggle for gender equality.
Reducing inequalities/child poverty
Joao Pimenta Lopes
Austerity policies created a situation where one in four children lives at risk of poverty or social exclu- sion across the EU. This report demands that the child poverty phenomenon needs answers based on policies that promote access to universal, public, free and quality education, health and social security services, promoted by member states, for children and their families. It also advocates tackling unem- ployment, promoting job security, parenting support, social-educational networks, balanced nutrition and adequate housing.
Health & safety at work
For GUE/NGL, health and safety at work is unthinkable without the participation of workers and the social partners in the procedure of decision-making, both for H&S planning and H&S rulemaking. So our main priority in this report was to secure this participation, applying not only on company level but on a country level as well and without overlooking micro companies and SMEs in this procedure. In this regard we tabled amendments which were taken on board.