To the European Parliament,
As a constituent, I’m writing to urge you to vote for strong rules to end the secrecy on industry studies used to prove that pesticides are safe. As our elected representative in the European Parliament, you have a duty to protect our health, the food we eat, our plants and our environment from toxic pesticides.
Yet the decision-making process on pesticides continues to rely on unpublished studies commissioned and assessed by the pesticide producers. This is unacceptable and needs to change.
Your vote in the European Parliament on the 16th of January will be crucial to determine whether citizens can trust the European institution in the future, in particular, the European Food Safety Authority – EFSA.
As you are aware, the glyphosate case has highlighted the serious flaws in the way in which pesticides are approved. Back then, more than one million people, in the fastest ever European Citizens Initiative, raised their voice demanding the European Commission to protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides, by improving transparency in our food system and ensuring that all studies used to support the regulatory approval of pesticides are made public.
Therefore, I urge you to make sure that all industry studies are available to the public in their entirety and that those running the assessment of pesticides do not have any conflict of interest.
Millions of EU citizens are eagerly looking forward to your vote in favor of major changes to the system of pesticide approval. Our health, our food, our plants, and animals should precede the interests of secretive lobbies and private interests of multinationals.
The clock is ticking. Three years after the historic Paris Climate agreement it is clear we have to do more, much more, to halt climate change. But here is the good news: The solutions for a rapid shift to a Green economy are there. People across Europe, and across the world, are rising up to demand action. So now it’s a matter of political will. Now it’s time to deliver.
Science shows that Europe’s current targets of cutting emissions by 40% in 2030 do not go far enough to keep the world’s temperature below 1.5C. In fact, scientists have analysed that the temperature of our earth will rise to at least 3 degrees if Europe doesn’t increase it’s commitment. This is potentially disastrous, considering the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that stated that if the world’ temperature rises above 1.5C, the impacts of climate change on our planet would be irreversible. It’s time to demand more from our leaders. It’s time they deliver.
We demand EU leaders to commit to a 55% cut in emissions by 2030 to avoid the risk of climate change.
We demand our leaders to show their commitment to tackling climate change by taking bold action today.
Young people are finding it harder and harder to access the labour market after graduating. Far too many young people are caught up in unpaid jobs during the day but then, in order to support themselves, take up paid night time jobs in order to support themselves. Others are stuck in a vicious cycle of one unpaid internship after another as they find it impossible to find quality, paid work.
It's simple: Interns Work. Pay your Interns.
Since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, working for free has become increasingly common. In certain sectors, entry level positions have been replaced by unpaid internships. In others, unpaid interns are given little learning experience. This is not a coincidence. It is the results of employers taking advantage of the high youth unemployment rate in Europe and treating young people as cheap or unpaid labour force. Unpaid internships are an exploitative, unjust and discriminatory practice. We're calling on the EU to ban unpaid and low-quality internships at an EU wide level.
Unpaid internships perpetuate social inequality. Young people who do not have the privilege of financial security, parental support or cheap housing cannot take up unpaid internships, finding it even harder to enter the labour market.
Businesses, institutions, NGOs and all other employers should pay interns for their work. Young people deserve the ability to build a prosperous future for themselves. We need laws to make sure employers don't exploit their employees.
I demand that interns are adequately paid for their work. The EU must ban unpaid internships and improve the quality of internships at an EU wide level. That is only fair.
Unpaid internships are an exploitative, unjust and discriminatory practice. They perpetuate social inequalities among young people all over Europe. Young people deserve the ability to build a prosperous future for themselves. It starts with banning unpaid internships.
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A warning bell has been ringing: global warming needs to be limited to 1.5°C as soon as possible. Any additional warming, even by half a degree more, will further increase the threats of drought, floods, excessive heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people in Europe and worldwide. As you know, already several European regions are facing more and more extreme weather disasters, which are occurring with increasing frequency and intensity. Events such as the ones that took place in countries such as Italy, Portugal, and Greece are only examples of the urgent need to address this issue in order to prevent any further negative impact on the lives of European citizens. This is an unprecedented wake-up call that the EU Member States can no longer afford to ignore.
The CO2 emissions resulting from the use and the consumption of fossil fuels are still playing a significant role in global warming. Europe can and must do something to contribute to reverse this trend by adopting concrete measures leading to rapid and effective shifts in sectors such as energy, industry, and infrastructure.
Therefore, I call on the European Commission and the European Parliament to introduce an EU legislation that could strengthen and complement the current rules on climate and energy, with the aim of discouraging the use of fossil fuels in all sectors and stimulate the use of renewable sources and energy saving.
In particular, I urge you to:
- Introduce a minimum price on CO2 emissions that can range from €40 per tonne of CO2 produced by 2020 up to €100 by 2030.
- Abolish the current system of free allowances for polluters.
- Introduce a border adjustment mechanism for third countries imports to compensate for the lower price on CO2 emissions in the exporting country.
To Members of the European Parliament
I am deeply concerned about the lack of regulation on CRISPR-CAS9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) gene drives and the ecological, cultural and societal threats they pose.
Gene drives are a controversial new genetic manipulation technology that threatens the balance of our delicate ecosystems. It allows scientists to modify, delete or insert DNA into organisms that ensures the human made mutations are inherited to all its offspring. This mutation eventually spreads throughout the population with every generation of new offspring.
In theory, scientists argue that they could create populations of malaria-resistant parasites. In practice, without careful consideration, unleashing mutated species modified by gene drive technology could devastate entire ecosystems. The risks of these GMOs breeding with local wild or cultivated population creates biosecurity risks that are contrary to aims laid down by Convention on Biological Diversity. We’ve seen this before with invasive species killing off local wildlife. With gene drives, we could speed up that invasive process.
There is a severe lack of knowledge, data or understanding on the potential impact of gene drives on biological diversity. What’s worse is that big agricultural lobbyist and corporations have begun to appropriate and test this technology for commercial gain, whilst the US Defence Advanced Research have been considering to use it for bioweaponary. In the wrong hands, our biosecurity and food security would be under threat. That’s why we call on the European Parliament to call for an international moratorium on gene drives.
Over 160 civil society organizations from six continents have joined the call already: we don't want gene drives. We’ve seen plenty of rushed scientific experiments creating more ecological problems. Look to the GMO created superweeds in America immune to pesticides reeking havoc in local fields. Therefore, I call on the the European Parliament to promote an international moratorium on the release in the environment of organisms modified by gene drive technology.
To Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs
More than 40 days have passed since the writer Jamal Khashoggi was killed. The world is still shocked by what the Saudi regime's killers have done to him inside the Saudi consulate. There must be accountability and full justice for Jamal Khashoggi.
According to Turkish investigators, the journalist was most probably tortured, and his body being cut into pieces inside the consulate.
Jamal Khashoggi arrived at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a pre-arranged appointment to obtain a document he needed to marry his fiancé. After entering the consulate, he was never seen again.
We expect the truth and justice over the case. The European Union must aim to obtain this true from the Saudi authorities. Federica Mogherini, as our High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, I urge you to call for an international, independent and impartial investigation board that can provide an insight on the disappearance of the journalist, and make sure that the perpetrators of this horrific crime will be held accountable to justice.
As you know, despite Saudi government promise to promote reform in the country, the world is well aware that the Saudi Arabian authorities have been repressing freedom of expression and dissent, by arresting people who speak out against the policies of the government. Such people are often subjected to unfair trials, enforced disappearances, torture, and long prison sentences. Some may even face the death penalty. This need to end.
The European Parliament has recently voted for stricter CO2 targets in the car and van industry. This is because transport is still one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions in Europe, factoring for one-fifth of emissions. Now the final decision lays at the feet of the Council to decide our CO2 targets.
Currently, Germany, France, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria are being influenced by rich car manufacturers to lower these targets. Our representatives should listen to us, not lobby groups. Let the Environment Ministers of Germany, France, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria know that Europe wants a reduction of CO2 emissions of cars and vans by 40% by 2030. It's up to us to let these Environment Ministers know that we want higher emissions reduction targets to work towards a decarbonised renewable future.
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