Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, today launched the regional ‘Greens for a Better Europe’ campaign in Bristol, promising to be a ‘loud, positive and distinctive voice’ in the EU referendum debate. Molly said:
“Greens want Britain to remain a part of the EU because we believe that we need to work together on shared solutions to the collective challenges we face. Climate change, the pollution of our oceans, terrorism and the refugee crisis show no respect for borders and require collaborative and cooperative solutions. The EU has shown just how important it is at defending out rights and freedoms, improving animal welfare and challenging the power of multinational corporations and global finance”.
The launch event was attended by Green Party members and others who see the importance to the environment of the UK remaining in the EU. Also speaking at the launch event were Tony Dyer, Bristol Green Party’s Mayoral Candidate, Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science at Friends of the Earth UK, and Oliver Dowding, Green Party agriculture speaker.
A new report last week concluded that the UKs membership of the EU has had “a significant positive impact” on the environment. Molly said:
“Before we joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973 we were widely known as the dirty man of Europe with sewage on our beaches and very little protection for our air and water quality. A range of environmental directives have acted to give the UK a massive Spring clean and brought about a transformation to our natural environment with rivers restored to health and protection for birds and other wildlife. All of this would be at risk should we leave, which is why environmental campaigners and NGOs are coming together across the South West to work for a vote in favour of the UK remaining in the EU on June 23rd”.
Mike Childs from Friends of the Earth echoed her comments:
“The EU has served to help create a race to the top in terms of environmental standards and regulation; Brexit and an ensuing destabilised EU could risk a race to the bottom.”
Tony Dyer spoke about how EU membership had helped in terms of air quality and promoting renewables in Bristol and had enabled the city to gain and benefit from its status as European Green capital (bristol2015.co.uk) last year.
Also at the event, Green Party agriculture speaker and organic dairy farmer, Oliver Dowding, warned how Brexit would leave farmers in the South West isolated and without the support offered by EU policies & directives. Oliver said:
“Farmers have long realised there is power with cooperation, but isolation & ostracism without. Farmers need to be inside the biggest trading group possible.”
“I see on a daily basis in my role as an MEP the important role the EU has played in creating cultural connections and this in turn has helped keep the peace in Europe for over 50 years. With the many cross-border challenges we face, now is the time to build solidarity with our European neighbours, not cast ourselves adrift”.