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Fundamental rights far from an obsolete notion, Zimmer tells right-wing in an appeal for tolerance


23 Oct 2013


Social Europe & Jobs

"What is so outdated about a Europe where people can live in dignity?" GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer asked Conservative leader Martin Callanan following his attack on 'outdated' EU social funding in a European Parliament debate on tomorrow's EU Summit. "For decades people having been fighting for fundamental rights and you say they need to back off? How far must we turn back the clock on fundamental rights before you have what you want?"


"Digital economy, growth, competitiveness and jobs… the agenda for this week's European Council summit looks bright and cheery, but in reality the Commission is not capable of fulfilling such a programme," she said vis-à-vis the ongoing budget deadlock. "Even if we get the €3.9 billion from the member states, we'll still be €5 billion short. When will the budget be brought into line? When will finance ministers realise that we have to live up to the commitments we make? We need a clear answer, don't try to pull the wool over our eyes and think we're not going to notice."
Calling for EU leaders to come to an agreement on refugee policy she said: "We're not looking at the causes nor talking about the reasons why people are fleeing their countries. We need to treat people with dignity - if the EU puts up barriers people will seek illegal ways in. They should not be instantly criminalised just for knocking at the EU's door."

Referring to yesterday's contentious decision to send a parliamentary report on sexual and reproductive rights back to committee stage, Zimmer said that unless we're not careful "this will be a taste of what's to come after the next European elections."

"In the next legislature, will we have a bunch of radical right populists? Or people here to fight for solutions and a future for Europe? Solidarity is what underpins the EU and if some member states don't live up to it, we will pay the price at next year's elections when we risk seeing ever more intolerant debate on fundamental rights in a parliament of right-wing populists."

GUE/NGL Press:
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

European United Left/Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group


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