The European Parliament welcomes the rise of the protest movement of youth from across Europe striking for climate action, in a resolution approved today.
The student climate strike, initiated by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, is spreading beyond Europe and going global as it gears up for its biggest global protest to date this Friday.
GUE/NGL supported the request for Thunberg to address the plenary but the proposal was blocked by the centre and right wing. In opposition to this veto, Left groups invited 60 youth strikers from 22 countries to meet with MEPs about their demands and on ways to support their cause.
Commenting on the refusal, MEP Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin, Ireland) highlighted the EU´s own failure to deal with climate change:
“Greta Thunberg was blocked from addressing this Parliament because she speaks truth to power. That truth is that we are failing on climate change. Failing to take the bold steps that are required. Failing to lead.”
“There are some in this chamber who are more concerned that young people would strike from school than they are about the fact that we have just 12 years to sort this mess out,” she added.
The resolution demands bolder and faster action towards net-zero carbon emissions, calling for strong medium-term targets for 2030, and a host of policies towards a just transition and circular economy.
Boylan was pleased that the Parliament restated its demand for 55% emissions cut by 2030 despite attempts to water down the text:
“Today I am glad that the progressive forces in the Parliament have been able to overcome the climate laggards and reassert that the European Parliament wants the EU to take much more radical action on climate. The debate yesterday clearly showed where interests lie on climate change and how liberal and conservative political ideologies clearly cannot go hand in hand with rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented climate action we need.
“Only a left approach to climate can deliver the essential merging of climate and social policy that we need to have the public buy in on dramatic climate action. However, today, we got one step closer to knocking over the status-quo establishment who only want to talk on climate and take no action.”