Rights, rules, and requirements for climate justice

Europe should no longer be the Wild West for big corporations, argues Kira Marie Peter-Hansen
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By Kira Marie Peter-Hansen

Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (DK, Greens/EFA) is a member of Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs committee.

30 Apr 2021

Economic, social, and environmental policy are closely intertwined, so we cannot solve climate problems without reforming how the economy works, securing workers’ rights and creating quality jobs.

In order to overcome both the climate and social challenges - intensified by the COVID pandemic - we need clear and ambitious measures for the sustainable transformation of our economy and the creation of quality long-term jobs.

I agree with the European Commission that we definitely need an economy that works for the people. We have the same goal, but I wish the Commission would show greater ambition.

Leaving no one behind should be at the core of a just social Europe. Eradicating poverty as well as ensuring a fair and just transition are key aspects to us as a socially just green political group in the European Parliament. In order to make these changes, we have a number of social ambitions for Europe.

Every European should have the right to a minimum income, provided by the Member State. In this way, everyone will have a safety net when other options are exhausted. We should also create a threshold for workers’ rights and compensation.

“While companies receive huge benefits from the internal market and free movement, the right wing and the corporate lobby are trying to undermine and free themselves from any responsibility for workers and the environment”

We are fighting as well to secure access to decent and affordable housing and to eradicate homelessness. The housing crisis that Europe currently faces is an opportunity to achieve both the EU social and climate targets. Housing rights must come before market interests in ensuring a socially just recovery.

These are just some of the tools that can create the strong incentives needed for EU Member States to create security and welfare for their citizens.

For far too long, we have witnessed workers’ rights and social justice being overruled in favour of a European neoliberal ideology that dictates that fewer rules for companies and fewer social rights for the individual the better. This is unfair.

While companies receive huge benefits from the internal market and free movement, the right wing and the corporate lobby are trying to undermine and free themselves from any responsibility for workers and the environment.

It is up to the EU and governments in the Member States to create the rights, rules and requirements and to make sure that growth and effectiveness harm neither our citizens nor the planet. That makes sense economically, socially and ideologically.

Rules and requirements are the only solution to the many problems being created; from precarious work, such as bogus self-employment to ruining the local lake, all of which have huge consequences both for individuals and for the world.

Living in a global world, we need to set up restrictions, so the problem does not move to a different country. To me, it is all about creating a stronger and a more just Europe for future generations, one where Europe is no longer seen as the Wild West for big corporations when it comes to taxes, workers rights or the environment. 

Read the most recent articles written by Kira Marie Peter-Hansen - A people-focused European recovery from Coronavirus

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Energy & Climate
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