In the lead up to the European elections, France’s Greens are focusing on water and air quality, issues that can only be solved at the European level. EURACTIV France reports.
At their campaign launch in Paris, the Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) presented its candidates for the European Elections.
Pascal Durand leads the list, followed by Éva Joly, their current MEP. In third is Mohammed Mechmache, a self-proclaimed “spokesperson for deprived areas”.
“We want to separate the local elections from the European elections, because we know that most of the French political class will nationalise the European debate in order to bring Europe into the national framework. On the contrary, EELV does not want to let the national debate pollute the European debate” said Pascal Durand.
Respecting European Norms
EELV invited journalists to measure the quality of air over Paris in a hot air balloon, and then held their conference on a barge. These two locations symbolise the objectives of the political party, namely to focus European dialogue on improving the quality of its air and water.
Durand explained that “we wanted to start this campaign around two main issues: the quality of air and the quality of water. This is why we chose to use a hot air balloon and hold the conference on a barge. Europe cannot be used as a scapegoat on either of these issues, as it has the solutions!”
The environmentalist candidate calls on France to respect European environmental norms regarding air and water quality.
“If France respects the European norms, we will not be punished, as so many have demanded. However, France prefers to be condemned than to pursue polluters and implement the polluter/payer principal” says Durand.
MEP Éva Joly also promised to continue her fight against tax havens and to protect personal data: “It is with much enthusiasm that I begin this campaign, because it is important to solve today’s problems at a European level. If I am reelected, I intend to continue my fight against tax havens and surveillance, which is a fundamental issue for our liberty.
Civil society in the EELV list
“We will be the only list for the European elections which has three candidates from civil society,” explained Pascal Durand.
Indeed, three candidates are not politicians.
Mohamed Mechmache, who is the founder of a youth association, “spokesman of deprived areas” and advocates a Europe for the young, claims that the EELV candidates have an important role to play as members of civil society, and that “ecology is a question of solidarity, and I want to give the youth of deprived areas a greater say”.
Candidate Nathalie Laville wants to mobilise more of civil society on environmental health issues and restore the importance of whistle-blowers.
Finally, Pierre Serne represents civil society as a leader of the LGBT movement, and member of the regional council. He argues that air quality will be at the heart of the next European elections due to the high levels of air pollution from transport.
The next European elections will take place between 22 and 25 May 2014. They will be the first to take place since the Lisbon Treaty, which increased the power of the European Parliament in the process of nominating the president of the European Commission.
In France, candidates for the European elections are numerous. Political parties need only present lists of 20 candidates (10 candidates and 10 deputies). In other countries like Germany, the parties need to receive a significant number of signatures to validate a candidate.
- 8 April: Lauch of EELV campaign
- 22-25 May: European elections