Greens have a clear vision of the sort of Europe we want to see and our 50 members of the European Parliament are working every day to bring this closer to reality. By working together with people across Europe, we can ensure the EU goes further in protecting our environment, lifting people out of poverty, and challenging the power of corporations. We are building a Europe of peace and prosperity for all.
Some people have lost faith in the ability of politicians to improve their lives. This is because the process of globalisation, led by multinational corporations, has worked for the benefit of these large companies and not for the advantage of us all. Corporations have achieved this power by working beyond national boundaries so we need to work at that level to constrain their power which is one reason why staying in the EU is so important. The EU has already made important advances in this direction, both directly challenging corporations that are not behaving competitively, protecting our rights at work and curbing tax avoidance.
The environmental problems we face also need international cooperation. The UK’s membership of the EU is crucial to the fight against climate change and the EU and it is also the EU that sets targets which stops our government from totally crushing the renewable energy sector that has created so many jobs in the West Country It is European law that has raised our environmental standards, removing sewage from our beaches and giving us clean air and water.
The South West is a largely rural area that depends heavily on European money that goes direct to farmers and also supports rural development across our region. There is no guarantee that these payments would continue if we were outside the EU. The EU adopts a Greener approach to farming than our government which means support for organic farming. It has also blocked licensing of some dangerous pesticides and GMOs and raised standards of animal welfare on farms.
Finally, the EU has played a critical role in maintaining peace in our continent and around the world. It plays a crucial role in spreading human rights and fostering democracy.
We asked some young visitors to the European Parliament what the European Union means to them…