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Sira Rego’s speech for the Presidency of the European Parliament

Lea el original en español aquí: Discurso de Sira Rego como candidata a la Presidencia del Parlamento Europeo

Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ6BP1ve9HM

Thank you. It is an honour to represent the candidacy of a group that is small in number, but one that is firmly committed to the defence of the interests of the people of Europe – in particular – working people.

We present this candidacy with the conviction that, whilst some groups and governments of Europe have been playing around with top jobs, life continues outside and the future of millions of people depends on the decisions we take here in this Parliament.

For us, it is therefore imperative that we talk about which side the President of this Parliament will be on over the next few years. Will they continue to be on the side of corporate lobbies and multinationals? Will they be on the side of the Europe of division and walls that continues to feed the monster that is neo-fascism? Or will they, finally, be on the side of people, of workers, and of human rights?

We defend a Parliament that responds to the needs of our people, mandated by their sovereignty and, above all, one that works against a European Union based on the exploitation of workers and of the natural resources of this planet. We have seen how the EU’s economic policies have dragged whole countries to mass unemployment. We have especially suffered in Spain, in Greece or in Portugal. The neoliberal doctrine on which the European Union has been built has generated immense suffering: unemployment, precariousness and inequality. These policies are leading us into a life without a future, a life without hope.

And not only economically. These same policies, and the model of production and consumption that they entail, are also responsible for the eco-social crisis and the climate emergency that our planet is enduring. Denying this is would be lying to ourselves. The green varnish that the European Union applies to its policies will not solve a problem that we have already clearly started to suffer from in our countries. We believe that this must be one of the main issues for this Parliament and because of this, we ask you to support our proposal to create a Special Committee on the Climate Emergency. It is imperative that this happens.

Further, the neoliberal policies of the European Union have led to the rise of the monster that is neo-fascism. The far-right sits already here – but some of you already take on their xenophobic, racist and sexist policies. We will not allow this Parliament to normalise hate speech or justify the violation of human rights by hiding behind a fake discourse of security.

A few days ago, Carola Rackete was arrested. She is a hero who saves lives in the Mediterranean even if Matteo Salvini wants to criminalise her work. Therefore, we propose that from now on, this Parliament provides protection and legal coverage to any person who is persecuted for saving lives.

I come from the south of Spain, from the country of the feminist strikes, from the country that stops when women stop. I know, we know, that feminism is the best antidote to stop fascism. We know that it is here that we can challenge everything and propose a new society. We ask our governments and the European Commission to stop treating women like fools: we don’t want quotas, we want feminist policies! We want to make life and care political priorities, and that is why we are going to demand the presence of feminism in the agenda of the institutions, not as a label, but as a template on which to build our societies.

We want to make visible all the stories of the invisible women who helped build our countries. Even if they are hellbent on erasing us from history, WE are the ones who hold the foundations of our societies.

Today, we know who we are. Here and now, we defend the rights of our people, of the people who make their living from working hard.

For this reason, we remember and honour a Europe of fraternity and antifascism:

– the French resistance and Spanish Republicans leading the liberation of Paris;

– Manolis Glezos tearing down the flag of Nazi brutality from the Acropolis in Athens;

– the 25th of April, when they got rid of a tyrant to the sound of ‘Grándola, Vila Morena’;

– the Italian partisans of ‘Bella Ciao’ that hung Mussolini upside down.

This is the Europe we claim.

But even more, we also stress the struggles of the present and we see ourselves in them. For example, the dignity of the ‘Sea-Watch’ and ‘Open Arms’ activists in rescuing people from Fortress Europe. We can see in ourselves via the prism of young people defending their rights to have a future on a living planet. The Europe of feminism that is here to change everything.

For these reasons, we believe this Parliament must be an instrument for building a Europe of peace and a Europe of solidarity that does not leave anyone behind.

Thank you – arriba las que luchan!

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