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EU leaders must reset the direction for Europe, starting with climate commitments

As European leaders meet in Sibiu today to discuss the priorities for Europe, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer calls for immediate changes to climate, migration and austerity policies.

“We are asking the leaders of EU member states if they have learned any lessons from the climate crisis, the Brexit referendum, the rise of the extreme right and nationalist forces and the growing lack of trust from citizens towards the EU institutions?” Zimmer begins.

“We don‘t need more empty promises on climate change and social equality. And we definitely don’t need enhanced military cooperation. Instead, the leaders of EU Member States must correct the trajectory of Europe.

“We expect all EU leaders who will be present today to get on board with the initiative to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“They must decide on concrete initiatives to implement their obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“We also urgently need action from Member States in support of refugees and migrants. The Council has blocked much-needed reforms to the Dublin system for asylum seekers – that the European Parliament has agreed upon – due to a minority of Member States lacking solidarity. But the Council does not require unanimity on this. Those who do have solidarity must move forward together.”

Zimmer also highlighted the economic and social policy changes that are needed: “The policies of neoliberal privatisation and austerity failed. We demand that EU leaders correct and redefine the slogan of the last Austrian presidency, ‘Europe that protects’, to reflect protection of the everyday interests of citizens, especially women and children, workers, poor people, minorities, migrants and refugees.”

“We also call on the Council to immediately stop any form of blockade against concrete and binding measures on social dumping, fighting poverty or ending homelesness in the EU,” Zimmer concludes.

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