Commenting on today’s State of the Union address by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Co-Chair of the European Green Party Reinhard Bütikofer said:
“There were a number of important points in Juncker’s speech, including an idea of the creation of a European Solidarity Corps. This idea has already been discussed by the Greens over the past two decades. If properly financed and organised, this could indeed be a good step forward as it involves youth in volunteer work when it is most needed, in order to respond to emergency situations like the refugee crisis.
“As for security measures, we are not opposed to them. However, the implementation of such measures should never erode civil rights, which remain at the core of our priorities and at the very basis of European citizenship.
“Tax fairness is a key issue for European citizens. Many of us were proud of the EU when Commissioner Vestager dared to take on Apple over their shameful tax evasion. But one swallow a summer does not make. Commission must act more consistently and member states must clean up their frivolous tax schemes for corporations.”
European Green Party Co-Chair Monica Frassoni added:
“President Juncker is aware of the risk of reducing the EU to a battleground between member states. But he falls short of embracing a bold action on economic and tax reform. He does not seem to be aware of the strength that transformative EU legislation on climate and energy could bring to the capacity of the EU to deliver in terms of innovation and jobs.
“The long and important list of values and principles that should represent the basis of the EU, only underline the urgency to again take up the decision for the reallocation of migrants and refugees. Building alliances with willing countries is essential, as is giving visible support to the positive actions that cities, communities and NGOs initiated to welcome and assist refugees, often despite the national governments.
“In this moment of doubt and crisis, it is important that the European Commission and Parliament do not only consider governments as their natural counterparts. There are out there many political representatives, citizens and authorities ready to defend Europe and its values. It is high time to let them play their part to bring back the European dream.