Letter to Guardian on EU from leading Green politicians

A letter published in the Guardian on 2st May 2015 argues that the debate about Europe should focus around what is best for people and the environment, not what makes life easier for big business. Letter in full:

The last few days have seen a tussle between big businesses over whether or not Britain should stay in the EU. But a focus solely on corporate interests undermines the issues at the heart of this debate.

The EU is more than just a market. Indeed, with the rise of multinational corporations increasingly capturing our national politics, EU protections for workers’ rights give us some comfort in the face of cuts to so-called red tape. The EU has also brought in a cap on bankers’ bonuses and a tax on City speculation. With the Tories determined to water down these EU rules, it’s vital we fight to maintain them.

And, of course, it’s only by working with other countries that we’re going to face down future environmental crises. EU countries have been able to commit an entire continent to minimum carbon reduction targets – and the next few years are crucial for strengthening these goals. Britain leaving the EU would seriously undermine our role in the fight against climate change.

The Green party welcomes the EU referendum, though we are clear that we don’t want business-as-usual to continue. Indeed, with the looming threat of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal it’s clear that we must act now to ensure the EU doesn’t become a vehicle for a race to the bottom on environmental and social protections.

But the fact remains that Britain is better when we work with our neighbours to find solutions to the shared problems we face. We’ll be campaigning to be part of an EU that protects workers, takes bold action on climate change and stands up to corporate interests. It’s time to take the debate back from business and hand it over to people.

Natalie Bennett Green party leader, Caroline Lucas MP Brighton Pavilion, Keith Taylor MEP South East England, Jean Lambert MEP London, Molly Scott Cato MEP South West England