GNDE (Civil Society) ≠ GNE (European Commission) – Suggestions for changing behaviour

GNDE –Civil  Society

Analysis of the impact of COVID19 on the planet leads inescapably to the conclusion that we must move from a Green New Deal for EU to a Global Green New Deal.

We must always keep 4 lessons in mind: .

1: You cannot cheat physical reality;

2: Time is the crucial variable;

3:Social solidarity is absolutely key;

4: We can change fast when we need to.

Never before has humanity faced such global challenges that need global solutions — it is now more important than ever that we band together transnationally in our future actions to tackle this health and climate catastrophe. That is why the DiEM25 and Sanders Institute backed Progressive International is calling for a Global Green New Deal.

As already illustrated in previous newsletters, the GNDE offers an immediate response to the current crisis. Its proposal of a European Health and Care Standard, for example, would establish a minimum standard for public healthcare across the continent, setting up a resilient healthcare system to cope with future health crises. Making green technology available at low or no cost to developing countries could also help reduce the pressure on the environment and limit involuntary migration. The Green New Deal for Europe campaign extends cooperation with other grassroots organisations in order to keep the pressure on national governments to pass laws and implement EU directives that move the economy and society towards a sustainable just transition.

We have reached the time for the Global Green New Deal!

GNE –European Commission

“All that glitters is not gold” and “the right hand does not always knows what the left is doing”. These thoughts came to mind as we read the declarations of the European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, and the European Environment Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevičius.

Speaking before the French Senate on 2nd July, the Agriculture Commissioner commented about the targets in the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy, and affirmed: “If it were to become apparent that the achievement of the objectives set out in this strategy threatens both food safety and the competitiveness of our agriculture, then these objectives would have to be revised”. With this remark, the Commissioner reaffirmed the primacy of food production over environmental concerns of the F2F strategy.

Shortly before that, on the 22nd of June, Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in front of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee said: “Food security is no longer a major concern for the European Union” and “other challenges are dominating the European food system, such as food waste, overconsumption, obesity and its overall environmental footprint.” In this way, he raised doubts on the long-standing primacy of food security over environmental features in the current EU food system, suggesting that traditional concerns might give way to issues like climate change, sustainability, or biodiversity.

It might seem like a contradiction, but in reality it is a classic case of resistance to any change, even in the face of the evidence. Just as the first lesson of the COVID-19 experience has taught us: Physical reality cannot be denied!

Suggestions for changing behaviour –  Let’s renationalize!

In periods of crisis the private sector turns overwhelmingly to the public sector, asking for interventions on health, education, jobs, incomes.

This shows the importance of the role of the State and that “government is the solution, not the problem”. Let’s stop privatizations then, and look again at those carried out in the past. Schools, healthcare, water, gas, roads, railways – the list is a long one – must and can fall under the auspices of public institutions. IRI, the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction, played a fundamental part in the economic reconstruction of Italy after the war. In a situation of crisis like the current one, the industrial sector can be taken back under State control, bringing an end to the multinationals that are based only on exploitation and the profits of the few. This is not a utopian idea! Some European cities and areas have already achieved it, starting with control of water, healthcare and transport.