Hannahs Monthly


Hannahs Monthly: The Commission stands, the climate deal is coming, people are looking to Europe

We finally have a new Commission and now the work really gets under way. In December the Commission will present its Green Deal and we will critically follow it. In the last weeks we organized solidarity with LGBTI* activists who are increasingly threatened in Eastern Europe and demanded urgently needed joint action in the Syrian crisis and other conflicts in the Middle East. The besieged Kurdish women are not the only ones who are counting on EU support. Calls for the EU are also growing louder in Iraq, Iran and Egypt. But the current annual report on our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), on which I am currently working, shows that there is still a lot of work to be done before the EU can intervene effectively and peacefully in such conflicts.

Von der Leyens Commission and the Green New Deal

At the end of November, the European Parliament voted in favour of the new Commission. As Greens/EFA-Group we abstained. We don’t agree with all the candidates* and decisions on the substance of the new Commission, but it’s time to get started and we are ready to work together constructively. At the top of the list is climate policy. So far, the EU Commission lacks the courage for substantial changes in agricultural and trade policy, without which a Green Deal cannot be successful. We said this to the Commission even before the vote and it is now confirmed. A leaked document on the Commission´s Green Deal suggests that there will be heated discussions in Parliament before Christmas when the key points of the deal are presented.

Situation in and around the Middle East escalates further

Syria Conflict

Already at the end of October the European Parliament passed a strong resolution in response to Erdogan’s invasion of Syria. However, the member states could only agree to symbolic actions. The EU has little influence on the situation on the ground. This is problematic, because this is how Assad, Erdogan and Putin decide on the future of the country. The Kurds* in the region now want the EU to establish a no-fly zone. I discussed this with colleagues from other political groups at the Kurdish TV station Rudaw. We agreed that this cannot be implemented at the moment, as sensible as the demand is. Together with the other Greens, I will continue to fight for an arms embargo against Turkey, for a documentation of the human rights violations and the invasion of northern Syria.

Arab Spring 2.0

The situation is also coming to a head in the surrounding countries. Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran: since the summer we have seen protests against corruption and for democracy everywhere in the Middle East and North Africa. An Arab Spring 2.0. Many of the demonstrators* hope that the EU will play a mediating role. Especially where the protests escalate, protesters disappear or are killed. We should help to put an end to the killings and promote dialogue – that is what activists keep writing to me. But we, the European Union, who just celebrated 30 years of peaceful revolution, we are just watching. In Parliament I called for us to act at last. We are all human beings – with human rights. We must never tolerate shooting at peaceful demonstrators.


Internet Blocks and Freedom of the Press

In Europe we hardly notice many of the protests for human rights and democracy that are currently taking place in countries all over the world. Why is that? Also because of the many internet blockades, the persecution of journalists and the ban on free media coverage. But freedom is only possible where the press is also free. EU also called for action in this area.


Common Security Policy: Women, civil missions & transparency

In the Foreign Affairs Committee AFET we negotiated the annual report on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The report will be presented to Parliament in the new year and is an important one, because we are discussing everywhere what role the EU should play in the world. I have been successful in getting the report to call for a greater proportion of women on missions abroad and in management positions. Although we are committed to UN Resolution 1325 on women in peace and security policy, women are also under-represented in security policy at EU level. At least with us Greens, the situation is different. At the vote in committee, we were present with an all-women crew (see cover picture) <3, and I was able to get others to demand that we as a Parliament demand more transparency and a say in missions and that civilian missions be made more professional and better equipped. Both are absolutely necessary in order to be able to respond to present and future conflicts quickly, effectively and in a way that promotes peace.


It is now up to the Greens/EFA Group to negotiate a Green New Deal that does justice to the Paris climate agreement while offering opportunities for the European economy. The cornerstones of the concept are expected to be up for debate from 11 December and Leyen’s ambitions to pass the first laws as early as March must not lead to a shaky compromise in the end. The EU does not have to make itself small in the global context. We have the chance to become a model of sustainable economic policy and can prevent conflicts, including global conflicts, by taking environmentally conscious foresight.

And for me personally, exciting weeks lie ahead. As rapporteur for the Arms Export Report, I will thoroughly analyse in the coming months what we can do better in our arms export policy. Current reports, such as the one on #SpanishArms, show that we have not yet lived up to our responsibility. Despite the many crises we in the EU allow our weapons to end up in the hands of warmongers and dictators.

Until next month. And have a merry Christmas!

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