European left eyes transatlantic Green New Deal

Proponents said their plan to commit 5% of EU GDP to climate action and ending austerity was the first step towards radical global cooperation

(Photo: Consumers Energy/Flickr)


Socialists hoping to win power in Europe and the US are exploring cooperation on a transatlantic Green New Deal.

While launching a new campaign for a pan-European commitment to tackle the climate and ecological crisis while addressing the continent’s social problems, proponents said it was the first step towards international cooperation.

Launched on Friday ahead of elections for the European parliament, the new campaign proposes a framework to “end austerity, avert climate catastrophe and secure prosperity for future generations” without increasing taxes on workers but through financing from Europe’s public investment banks.

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The pledge has so far been endorsed by the UK Labour MP Clive Lewis and MEP candidate Laura Parker as well as the 18 candidates of the transnational list European Spring, which includes former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

Supported by Varoufakis’ Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25), it asks politicians commit to invest 5% of Europe’s GDP in green infrastructure, industry and agriculture and redressing the resource extraction inequality between Europe and the global south.

If successful at the European level, campaign coordinator Pawel Wargan said the plan could inspire the formulation of a global Green New Deal manifesto.

“The EU is the best model in history for transnational cooperation. If we can show that we can harness this potential for cooperation that transcends the national level in Europe, we can show how we can implement it in the rest of the world,” he said.

Michel Barnier: We need a Green New Deal for Europe

Lewis told Climate Home News there was no better time to map out what a Green New Deal for Europe would look like, adding that supporters of the proposal have already begun talks for a US-EU decarbonisation plan.

To tackle the big challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, Lewis said humanity is going to have to “develop new cooperation mechanisms on a scale never seen before” with “economic, social and environmental justice at the core”.

In February, Lewis and other leftwing UK politicians met with an advisor to progressive US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Supporters of the campaign would not be drawn on whether there had been further engagement.

Using the European elections as a campaigning platform, Wargan hopes the plan can be transformed into concrete policy proposals and supported by the future European Commission president.

Labour scrambles to develop a British Green New Deal

Varoufakis has previously called for an international Green New Deal which would mobilise 5% of global GDP to confront the climate crisis. A new global institution would form the basis for countries to join their production and innovation capacities to tackle climate change and redistribute resources globally.

The concept of a Green New Deal has gathered momentum in western Europe after being championed by Ocasio-Cortez in the US and backed by Democratic candidates for the presidency. In Spain, the newly elected Socialist Party ran on a campaign for “a just and sustainable economy” and in the UK, Lewis and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas presented a “radical” bill for a “decarbonisation and economic strategy”.

The idea has also resonated among some EU officials. Michel Barnier, a former vice president of the European Commission and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has called for the EU to set requirements on states for “concerted action on climate, trade, tax, agriculture and innovation”.

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