Fit for 55 Vote: Greenwashing and Power Games

The European Parliament votes down the controvese Emissions Trading System (ETS). It was rejected by a clear majority, with the Green and Socialist MEPs rejecting the proposal because the amendments of the conservative groups weakened it too much in their opinion, while the right-wing groups considered it too ambitious.

After a majority of the European Parliament rejected parts of the Fit for 55 package in plenary on 9 June, the vote took place again on 22 June. During the negotiations on the Fit for 55 package, corporate lobbies made a monumental effort to water-down proposals for ambitious climate protection. 

Finally, the profit interests of the polluters have prevailed. Without any discussion in the competent committee, the parliamentary groups of the Liberals, the Conservatives and the Social Democrats agreed on a deal a few days ago which they presented as progressive and ambitious. It is neither.

Silvia Modig, Left MEP (Vasemmistoliitto, Finland):

“We are not in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius. This fact does not change no matter how you try to spin it. That is not my opinion, it is science. The climate crisis is happening, just switch on the news and try to imagine how you are going to explain that you did not do enough when there still was a chance.”

Left MEPs not only criticised the deal, which takes neither the facts of science nor the Paris Agreement into account they were particularly angry at  how the big parliamentary groups undermined democratic procedures.  Actually, President of the EU Parliament, Roberta Metsola, decided to make use of a special rule to change the order of the votes. According to this rule, the President is empowered to derogate from the standard rules on voting order. As a result, progressive amendments were no longer put to the vote.

Co-Chair of the Left, Manon Aubry, (La France insoumise, France) denounced the trick:

“We have principles in this house to respect our work: always examine the most ambitious amendment. Whether you like it or not, it is more ambitious to put an end to free pollution for big business in 2030 rather than 2032. That is obvious. Everyone gets that. It is one thing that some MEPs are gravediggers for climate protection, but at least take responsibility for your votes! And let us speak about the possibility of improving the quality of this climate package.”

Silvia Modig (Vasemmistoliitto, Finland) added:

”Democratic decision-making is a competition between the best possible alternatives. It is about defending yours with the best possible arguments, not trying to block others with any possible means you can find. This process was far removed from the respect that this house deserves and far from what the climate needs.”

Originally published on the website of The Left in the European Parliament.

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