Hannahs Monthly


HannahsMonthly: Climate or peace – European solutions are necessary and possible!

September was for many people marked by the climate crisis. Two weeks ago, the world’s largest climate conference took place and the German government presented its much criticised climate package. On the same day I opened my constituency office EUTOPIA in Berlin-Lichtenberg. My guests and I agreed that climate policy can bring Europe together. Through the EU we can find common solutions that are more effective and far-reaching than those of a crumbling German coalition government. But climate policy is not the only area where European solutions are necessary and possible. It merely shows the potential we have created through the European Union.

Europe can change a lot in the world! Last month I committed myself to curbing international conflicts, strengthening human rights and empowering women. If you would like to receive this Monthly by mail in the future, please send a short message to berlin@hannahneumann.eu and I will add you to the mailing list!

Arms Exports

Unfortunately, the Yemen war reached new dimensions in September. In a bomb attack on a prison camp, Saudi Arabia killed over from its own ranks. And our policies in Europe have played a part in this conflict, as in so many around the world. As early as 2018, the European Parliament voted for an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia because of its interference in the Yemen war. Germany extended its ban on arms exports to the Kingdom of the Arabian Peninsula this month. But France continues to deliver to the Saudi crown prince. Weapons with parts made in Germany. And it’s possible that European weapons were also used in the attack on the prison camp. That is why last month I repeatedly called for our common European export criteria to be enforced more strictly. For example in the Süddeutschen Zeitung.Because the common position of the EU Member States, which actually prohibits exports to war and crisis zones, only works if the Member States adhere to it. And all of them!

Human Rights

The EU can also make a difference in the protection of human rights defenders* – if the member states pull together. This is shown in a new study by Amnesty International, which I commented on for Euronews. Unfortunately, too often we miss this opportunity to influence the EU because member states make different decisions or human rights are pushed behind economic interests. This is all the more dramatic because human rights defenders* are under pressure worldwide. More European, common and loud support of their concerns is needed. That is what I am always advocating for in the Human Rights Committee. If elsewhere the rights of people are trampled underfoot, we cannot remain silent here.

One way to protect human rights defenders is the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament. I had the pleasure of presenting our nominees, Marielle Franco and Jean Wyllys, to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The two Brazilian LGBTI activists deserve to be honoured because they have fought and continue to fight for the rights of LGBTI in a country where they are murdered every day. Marielle Franco was murdered because of this. Jean Wyllys had to flee into exile. It would be the first time that the Parliament has awarded this prize to LGBTI activists. 50 years after Stonewall and in light of the current backlash I would say – It is about time.

Click here for my speech.

And then there was a speech that was very important to me. Every Strasbourg week, Parliament passes Urgency resolutions on human rights issues worldwide. I have been campaigning for Parliament to speak out clearly on behalf of the women who are engaged in small and symbolic actions in Iran against the obligation to wear a veil. Four of them were sentenced last month to 16 and 20 years’ imprisonment for this. I know that it means a lot to many activists to know that they will not be forgotten. That is why I told their story in Parliament.


Women to the negotiating tables!


Last but not least, I was also committed to women in Europe, more precisely, directly in European politics. In joint European missions abroad, the proportion of women leaves much to be desired: although studies have already been written and recommendations made, in 2017 the proportion of women on military missions was just six percent. In civilian missions, the figure was 25 percent. As a peace researcher, I know that peace agreements last particularly long when women are involved in central positions. I think we in Europe should set a good example in this respect. That’s why I have been asking the military leaders on the Defence Committee. And I promise I will keep at it!


After all, things are no better for the EU embassies. Only 11 of our 47 delegations are headed by women! In a joint letter to the EU’s foreign affairs representatives, a group colleague* and I called for half of these posts to be filled by women by 2024.


Women belong at the negotiating table. And that goes for me now. At the moment we have the hearings with the various commissioners*. But the work in the committees has already begun. My committees are AFET (Foreign Affairs), SEDE (Security and Defence) and DROI (Human Rights). I have also been chairman of the Delegation for the Arab Peninsula since last week. I look forward to the coming weeks. More of me on Instagram, Facebook and back here in a month.

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