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Letter from FYEG Member Organisation to EU leaders calling for European solidarity and coronabonds

During the first weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe, the absence of solidarity between European countries, with some of them even blocking shipments of medical devices, led to terrible consequences.

After that rocky start, solidarity has been developing. We have seen countries taking care of each other’s citizens when they have spare intensive care capacity, the supply of personal protective equipment and essential goods are flowing again across EU internal borders. Candidate countries haven’t been forgotten, either, with funding going to help the Balkan response in health systems funded by the EU.

We call for action, because the alternative - not doing anything - is an unthinkable future. When this crisis is over, will the citizens of the most affected countries remember how the rest of Europe helped them, or how they were left to fend for themselves by political leaders? If it is the latter, then European disintegration may be inevitable. Political leaders, the choice and course of how this plays out historically is yours.

European solidarity today means European stability tomorrow, for our future and that of generations to come. We will not let the youth of today and the youth of tomorrow suffer from the consequences of inaction, in times that strong political leadership and action is needed. This is the time for us to show true European solidarity in the form of coronabonds.

Read the letter signed by FYEG and Young Greens from from France, Ukraine, Catalonia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, South Tyrol, Spain below.

 

Letter to the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament

Dear David Sassoli, Ursula Von Der Leyen and Charles Michel,

We, Young Greens from all over Europe, urge you to put social, economic and climate solidarity at the heart of Europe's efforts in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. With great concern, we are watching this crisis which is threatening Europe and the whole globe unfold. Before anything else is said, we want to express our condolences to all those affected.

At the moment of writing, the virus has infected 2 million people worldwide and more than 120.000 people have lost their lives. We firmly believe that in this dire time, there is a need for collective action on the part of all the member states of the European Union and the whole of Europe. We are facing a challenge that many of us have never experienced before and extraordinary and innovative measures are necessary to overcome this. Until now, the EU and individual member states have implemented various strategies to minimise the consequences of the pandemic. However, this has not proven to be sufficient to counter the devastating effects that Covid-19 has had on our societies. The response to the spreading of the virus has primarily been an individual effort of member states and there has been little collective European policy until now. Since European solidarity is a core value of the young Greens, we believe that the European Union should come together to prove that in the face of adversity we can and should act as one.

We demand the introduction of coronabonds for all member states. Coronabonds are a valid option to support the emission of government bonds. They will not involve a relevant burden for public accounts and the effort would be sustained by the entire European economy. Moreover, the debt that would be created would not be upon single countries, already severely affected by the virus, but in common among Member States, as a real demonstration of community and solidarity. In any case, coronabonds do not provide a total mutualization of public debts. Instead, our proposal asks to put in common only the debt necessary to save European Union economical, political and social stability as a whole. This would be an emergency measure to guarantee the long term viability of the economies and social welfare states of all countries. Coronabonds should be used to invest in the sectors that are severely impacted by not only the virus itself but also by the measures taken by governments to protect the public from the virus. This includes micro-, small-, and medium-sized businesses including unemployment, but also health services and cultural institutions. Coronabonds would facilitate necessary financial support to cope with these issues in countries struggling with high government debt. This method would not be available to finance previous or future debt that is unrelated to the pandemic. The countries that have been most impacted by the pandemic have called on the EU for assistance and view Corona bonds as a measure of solidarity. We absolutely agree with them. In this time of crisis Europe should come together and support each other.

Coronabonds are first of all a temporary emergency measure and are essential to create stability in the south of Europe that is going to have positive effects also on other countries. Without Coronabonds, the European Union will change irreversibly. European solidarity will be a beautiful dream in times of prosperity while in times of hardship it will have proven an empty promise. This is not the Europe we want. In this time of crisis Europe should come together and support each other. Additionally, we urge you to integrate in the Covid-19 response plan the EU Green Deal that already exists. The quarantine in most parts of the world has shown how globalization has impacted our way of living. European countries are very dependent on imports from outside the EU which has caused shortages in essential products. Therefore, this crisis provides us with an opportunity to promote sustainable local production and consumption. In particular, there is an urgent need to relocate the production of medical health devices and food, to ensure our resilience in the face of health and environmental shocks. Indeed, the climate crisis that human activity has caused could well confront us with other epidemics in the future. Furthermore, an unforeseen side effect of the preventive measures and general decrease of productivity has been the significant reduction in European consumption and pollution. Even though this is detrimental to the economy this pandemic also provides an opportunity to redefine our relationship with nature. Biodiversity is indeed a question of public health insofar as it allows basic medical research, and that COVID-19, like other viruses before it, is the result of an alteration of ecosystem balance due to human activities. We claim the policies of economic recovery and European solidarity that will be taken today to stem the COVID-19 crisis to also be policies that guarantee a decent future for future generations.

We understand the importance of international solidarity across Europe. This is not a Chinese, Italian or European problem, but a global problem that can be overcome if we act together. It must be understood that non-EU countries have also been affected by the pandemic, need the support of other European countries and are ready to cooperate. We have seen countries taking care of each other’s citizens when they have spare intensive care capacity, the supply of personal protective equipment and essential goods not just at EU borders, but in Europe as well. That is why we are calling for solidarity not only within the EU, but throughout the European continent.

We, Young Greens from all corners of Europe, support the adoption of coronabonds as an essential financial policy to counter the destructive effects that COVID-19 has had on Europe. This is the time for joint financial assistance and joint action. This is the time in which our shared solidarity should shine bright and most certainly should not be forgotten. As devastating as the corona crisis is, it also provides us with an opportunity to rebuild our economies and societies in a sustainable and just way. Let's use this time to also be ambitious in European climate policy and to build a strong European coalition in the fight against global warming.

We call loud and clear for Europe to become a community of solidarity, where European citizenship is not an empty slogan, but a way of expressing the deep feeling of unity that binds us together.

We call on you to:

  • Adopt Corona bonds as a means of financial assistance to member states in order to support the health system, job market and sustainability of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
  • To show full solidarity with all member states and the whole of Europe.
  • To put social, economic and climate solidarity at the heart of the European Union’s efforts to counter COVID-19,
  • To integrate in the COVID-19 response plan the Green Deal towards sustainable societies

 

Written by:

Giovani Europeisti Verdi - Italy

Les Jeunes Écologistes (French Young Greens) - France

Red EQUO Joven- Spain

Зелена Молодь України - Ukraine

Joves d’Esquerra Verda - Catalonia

Déi Jonk Gréng - Luxembourg

Cyprus Young Greens - Cyprus

Ecolojovem Os verdes - Portugal

DWARS, GroenLinkse Jongeren - The Netherlands

 

Supported by:

FYEG - Pan-european

Jong Groen - Flanders, Belgium

Grüne Jugend - Austria

Young Greens Southtyrol - South Tyrol, Italy

Grønn Ungdom - Norway

Protests - Latvia

Neoi Prasinoi - Greece

Genç Yeşiller - Turkey

Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh - Malta

Vihreät Nuoret - Finland

Confluència Jove - Catalonia