On the occasion of the World Environment Day on Saturday, June 5, the European Left party gave a call to implement a ‘Green New Deal’ to achieve the highest standards for the people and the planet. The European Left gave this call in solidarity with this year’s global initiatives for the World Environment Day under the theme of ‘restoring ecosystems’. Established in 1972, the World Environment Day is globally observed on June 5 to increase awareness and action for the protection of the environment. Progressive sections across Europe organized various events – mainly online – to observe the day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
European Left president Heinz Bierbaum said on Saturday, “the European Left has been advocating for a transition that requires a new industrial policy with new concepts of energy and mobility. This new socio-ecological transformation, or Green New Deal, is at the heart of our political strategy as it encapsulates an ecological revolution that goes hand in hand with workers rights and protects those who are affected by the process.”
“We will continue to push for the goals set in the Paris Agreement that ask for a 70% reduction of emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Only through a Left Green New Deal, that combines ecological and social requirements, can we achieve the highest standards for our people and the planet,” he said.
Demonstrations around various environmental issues were witnessed in countries across Europe on Saturday. In the Republic of Cyprus, the United Democratic Youth Organisation (EDON) accused the government of violating its obligations towards NATURA 2000 protected areas and failing to draw up a comprehensive management plan for their protection. EDON highlighted the violations in the Akamas peninsula and other protected areas in Cyprus by private companies for financial benefit.
Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas within the territory of the European Union (EU), including thousands of sites in 27 countries, with a total terrestrial area of 787,606 square kilometers and marine area of 360,350 square kilometers. The Natura 2000 network is founded on the basis the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive.
In Venice, activists of the No Grandi Navi (Committee for No Large Ships) protested the entry of a large cruise ship, MSC Orchestra, into the canals of Venice. They slammed the Italian government for not keeping up its promise to protect the lagoon of Venice and constructing alternative ports for big ships. Over the years, the fragile ecosystem of the Venice lagoon has been irreparably damaged due to heavy traffic of large cruise ships. Residents of Venice are concerned that the waves generated by these big ships in the city canals are weakening the basements of many buildings in the area. The city is already vulnerable to devastating floods.
In Greece, activists of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) demonstrated in Heraklion, protesting the privatization of the port of the city. They demanded more infrastructure and environmental protection measures for the port and the city.
In Finland, as part of the World Environment Day celebrations, the Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and its youth wing Kommunistinuoret hosted, along with others, an online discussion on the topic of ‘restoring peace with nature.’
Similar events and demonstrations related to environment protection were organized by progressive sections in other European countries as well.