Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Post-European Council: Statements
To use a seasonal metaphor, turkeys do not vote for Christmas. We absolutely must address the climate emergency. There appears to be no recognition by the European Union that if addressing it seems like punishment for large sections of the population, they will just not buy into it and, worse still, they will react against it. I mentioned that the far right is worryingly on the rise across Europe. One feature of those on the far right is that they are climate change deniers. If we are to take these people on, we need to pull the ground from under them by ensuring that life will be better for people by addressing the climate emergency, which it should be. However, Europe must recognise that if it is going to win people over to that position - I see no sign of it but maybe the Minister of State can cheer me up on this front - it needs to address these things. The most obvious thing is people's quality of life.
I mentioned pensions. How will the attack on people's pension entitlements across Europe endear people to the agenda of Europe? How does the consistent reduction in wage share as a proportion of national income across Europe endear people to the European project on climate change?
I have a very specific question. Is there a recognition that state aid rules and market rules need to be changed, challenged or even abandoned in many cases to implement a just transition approach to the climate emergency?
I have a question on Palestine, which I did not mention earlier. Israel is acting like a complete rogue state in its treatment of the Palestinians. After the move effectively to annex east Jerusalem, Israel is moving to annex parts of Hebron. The Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu, is now talking about annexing the Jordan Valley. It just goes on and on. Ethnic cleansing is the only way to describe it and yet Europe is taking no action to sanction Israel, which it continues to treat as a preferred trade partner. Is there any serious discussion about taking any action? The Taoiseach always says that certain states in Europe will not tolerate sanctions, but I do not see the debate. If Ireland is speaking up about this, where is the debate? What is the response of those who are resistant to imposing sanctions on Israel for its flagrant breach of human rights?