Investment in people, not arms!
Ahead of next week's European Council meeting that will focus on EU defence policy, GUE/NGL MEPs have called on the member states to stop putting defence lobbyists' needs above citizens.
Speaking in the European Parliament this morning, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: "While the summit next week could have been used to proclaim a vision of the EU that makes a contribution to disarmament the world over, member states are instead meeting to talk about armaments. This is the antithesis of what we should be doing: we should be holding a summit for peace, not for arms lobbyists.
"We have an EU ravaged by economic crisis and recession yet we talk about investing the little money we have in armaments. The money from the European budget could surely be better invested elsewhere."
Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias said: "Council meetings now appear to increasingly look like meetings for lobbyists. But rather than focusing on lobbyists' needs we should be responding to the real needs of citizens through focusing on education, housing and poverty reduction. Citizens don't need armaments. The EU is tragically on the path to a point of no return."
The summit agenda will also see heads of state and government discuss economic matters.
Greek MEP Nikos Chountis said: "At a time when the people of Europe are suffering under the EU's austerity policy, the EU's democratic achievements are being thrown away in the interests of saving the Euro. In Greece we have millions of unemployed people and thousands of households without electricity. People are being driven out of their homes. We don't want that kind of EU; we want one where heads of state and government work for the citizens. We want a Europe of change; we want a Europe of cooperation, solidarity, and democracy."
Irish MEP Martina Anderson criticised the supposed 'success story' of the Troika programme in Ireland:
"When you are told how successful the Irish bailout programme has been, it is a case of not letting the truth stand in the way of a good story. The real legacy of the Troika is mass unemployment, reduced public services and emigration.
"Not content with this form of economic destruction, the European Council is now turning its attention to destruction on a bigger scale, through increased military spending, and it is truly frightening to hear the voices coming from this chamber calling for further militarisation of the EU. I hope wisdom prevails and the summit avoids going down this path."
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group