e-news 1st June 2015

Parliament vote to end conflict minerals

Greens have secured mandatory rules to cover the whole of the supply chain of minerals used in electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. They had feared that the majority of MEPs would not back Green proposals and instead opt for a voluntary scheme for companies importing minerals from smelters and refiners outside the EU. Molly was delighted:

“If European governments follow the advice of the Parliament, people can be reassured that in future their phones, tablets and other electronic devices will not be helping to finance armed groups and conflicts. And this is even more welcome news for people in places like the Congo, where armed groups and Congolese military use profits from trading in minerals to finance campaigns of violence against civilians.”

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Better regulation in whose interest?

The Greens in Europe have slammed a new European Commission package, billed as ‘Better Regulation’, as ‘an attack on the fundamentals of democracy, on political accountability and on the ability of the Union to act’. The new agenda promises a package of reforms aimed at boosting openness and transparency in the EU decision-making process. David Cameron has said it will create ‘significant steps in cutting EU red tape for business’, but Molly denounced the package:

“It is ironic that the Commission is introducing a whole series of additional administrative burdens which they claim will reduce regulatory burden! Under the pretext of tackling “red tape” the Commission is pursuing a strongly pro-business agenda, which views legislation above all as a burden rather than as a collective achievement that defends our rights and our health and environmental standards.”

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Push to remove ISDS from TTIP

Greens say no to TTIP, the controversial trade deal being negotiated between the EU and US. However, given the support the treaty has from other groups and the Commission, Greens have put forward a series of amendments. Amongst these are amendments arguing against the Investor-state Dispute System (ISDS). This is one of the greatest threats posed by TTIP as it would potentially allow corporations the right to sue governments over laws which affect their profits. Last week the Trade committee voted on a weak ‘compromise’ amendment, which removed any criticism of ISDS from the report. Disappointingly, despite publically opposing ISDS, Labour MEPs supported this weak compromise. Greens on the other hand made an explicit stand against ISDS and voteding against. Molly says:

“We now face a vote on TTIP in the plenary session on the 10th June. We need Labour MEPs to vote according to the values they profess to hold. I urge everyone to lobby Labour constituency MEPs urging them to change their minds and vote against ISDS.”

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Greens support organic farming

The promotion of organic food and farming has been one of the European Greens’ core values since entering the European Parliament in 1984. The Greens/EFA group’s European food campaign has promoted organic farming as a viable alternative to further industrialisation of agriculture, which is ever more dependent on fossil fuels, pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Moving towards organic production methods and a better balanced relationship between plant and animal production is also the foundation for a more resilient food system in times of climate change. Greens are now calling for a far more ambitious approach for the future of organic farming than is in the current regulation. Read more about the Greens strategy for moving us away from the current broken food system.

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