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"Of course Europe must take responsibility"

THE GREEN EUROPE / "European Green Deal" is reminiscent of the first UN climate report 30 years ago, according to Margrete Auken in the European Parliament. "When it comes to the climate, we can't wait to come up with something smart. We must act now, ”she tells MODERN TIMES.


The European Parliament in Brussels on a sunny October day is, to say the least, overwhelming. Here, the most important decisions are made for, even with Europe, I think while I run after Margrete Auken's adviser. A smiling and lively Auken meets me. Since 2004 she has been a member of the European Parliament, representing the European Green / European Free Alliance.

climate Kamp

Auken is a member of the largest committee in the European Parliament: the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The newly elected first female president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has presented a European Green Deal, which states, among other things: “We will push for an ambitious Green Deal to be proposed to all European citizens to achieve the much-needed transition to a greener economy. »About von der Leyen's new agreement, Auken says:

«Green Deal recalls the first major report of the UN Climate Panel on 1990, which described climate change with safe calculations of man-made CO2emissions that account for more than half of the increased greenhouse effect.

The report stated that the longer we continue to increase emissions, the greater the cuts will need to be to achieve stabilization at a given level. The climate match was already underway 30 years ago! The sea is not only filled with plastic, but also of CO2, which is a huge problem. The Green Committee I sit on has been fighting this for years. When it comes to the climate, we can't wait to come up with something smart. We must act now. And then you can of course hope that there will be development and models that will make things go faster. One can look at suggestions coming from the Commission now about how busy we are.

When I read von der Leyen's Green Deal, it is the same words as in 1990 – then I get a little worried that there will again be talk and no action. Fortunately, Greta Thunberg has made clear to the world community what we knew several years ago. She is a gift. My eight grandchildren are also my spokesmen. So when I look at the world today, I think that something is finally done – now there is talk og actions!»

Nå eller aldri

The European Green Deal aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050 and to have a biodiversity strategy for 2030 that includes Natura2000,1 protection of species and habitats as well as the introduction of both a zero-pollution policy with regard to air and water quality and a environmental tax policy, including a carbon tax.

Margrete Helle Auken is a Danish politician who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004.
Auken Margrete

I ask whether it is realistic to achieve the climate goals within the timeframe, and whether EU citizens will support this. "I don't think the alternative is realistic. I have to believe and hope that we reach these goals. Because I can't see the alternative; that sea level and CO2 emissions will rise, which will entail widespread social conflicts and war – there is enormous potential for crisis and murmur under the surface! ”replies Auken.

But how did we get to the point where it is now or never?

"The climate crisis is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced – and it's ongoing. We have known that for 30 years, without acting. Every time we fly, we send the bill to the nursery. We can't fly around the world. What happens on the part of young people today is self-sacrifice. Their parents' generation knew full well that the climate crisis was a fact, but they put the action on par, ”says a clearly engaged Auken.

“The European Union is the world's largest community. If we get something done here, follow
the rest of the world after. "

I wonder how we can avoid someone failing to act now – how can the EU make it easier for respective EU citizens to become climate friendly in their everyday lives?

Auken is being provoked by my question and thinks that what we can do is put pressure on political climate-friendly decisions to be made: “But it should be as easy as it has always been – no, it won't. The is not the primary requirement. The primary requirement is that action be taken. We all have a personal responsibility. No one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something. If we do it together, we can do it. The European Union is the world's largest community. If we get something done here, follows the rest of the world. "

Norway's contribution

I ask Auken about her relationship with Norway, and how Norway as a non-member can contribute to a European Green Deal:

“I visited Norway for the first time in 1953. I should have liked to have Norway in the EU and seen that you were also part of the decision-making process. But even if you are not a member of the EU, you can contribute. You have no choice but to join the climate fight. Norway can buy CO2quotas, and Norwegian industry must stop oil production; and it must happen now. It is a great tragedy that Norway has parked its role in the EU. The debate on EU membership needs to be reopened in Norway. ”

About the future of Europe, Auken says: “We have great challenges when it comes to the climate crisis. The rising nationalism in Eastern Europe with Poland and Hungary at the forefront, Brexit, which will cost Britain dearly, increasing social conflicts and the increasing class divide are some of the biggest challenges we face. The EU must protect the social security of society through strong social solidarity. "

European migrants

Auken is Vice-President of the Palestine delegation and a member of the delegation to the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly. A few days before I meet her, the news media shows the first Turkish attacks on the Kurds in Rojava, northern Syria. As a Kurd from Turkey, I am appalled at the events and ask how Europe can put an end to the attacks. Auken replies that she does not know how to resolve the Turkey-Syria / Kurdistan conflict:

"The attacks are not just about finding the IS terrorists, but also about the Syrian refugees that Turkey has received. The Dublin Regulation III, 2, of which Norway is also a part, plays a decisive role here. "

"Every time we fly, we send the bill to the nursery."

According to the regulation, the asylum seeker must apply for asylum in the first EU country to which he or she is applying. If the asylum seeker after the fingerprint registration crosses the border to another EU country, he or she will be returned to the first EU country.

Auken believes that the Dublin system is failing and is causing enormous pressure on land located at the EU's external borders, in this case Turkey. Kurdish Foreign Minister Abdulkarim Omar said of the Turkish attacks on the Kurds in Rojava: “People are going to flee, including Europe. Europe must take responsibility. ”

On this, she says: “Of course, Europe must take responsibility. Asylum policy in Europe is good, but you can also say it can be better. Asylum seekers need better conditions. For example, we have the terrible cooperation with Libya, which is really shameful and difficult to finance. "

Libya welcomes many refugees. According to Human Rights Watch's (HRW) 70 pages report "No Escape from Hell: EU Policies Contribute to Abuse of Migrants in Libya", based on four asylum reception visits in 2018, migrants are "malnourished due to poor food and water quality and lack of adequate health care . Violence and use of whipping by guards has also been observed. " The report also states that a large proportion of children and infants live in "severely unsuitable conditions", and that they still lack adequate nutrition neither offers organized activities nor education. It is disturbing, considering that nearly 20 percent of refugees who reached Europe from Libya in 2018 were children.

climate Refugees

The EU is funding the Libyan coastguard to keep migrants out of Europe. As a result, migrants seek illegal help from militias and traffickers. If we are to create a decent and humane asylum policy here in Europe, Auken emphasizes that "Europe must do this together". She also mentions that France, Germany, Italy, Malta and especially Portugal have good conditions for asylum seekers with a progressive and economic refugee policy

.Portugal opened the borders – even after the European migrant crisis in 2015. Portuguese Mayor António Costa announced in May 2018 that the country would welcome 10 000 refugees (three times the EU Commission's quota).

Auken says that every single European she knows is aware that the refugee problem will not disappear by itself. «climate refugees come. We haven't defined them in the convention yet, but we know that they are actually already on the way. The world's climate refugees do not come straight to Europe; most flee to the surrounding areas first. But I am convinced that Europe can and should accept Europe. For if we do not, it is ourselves that goes beyond – we become inhuman. And if we do not accept them legally, they will come illegally and it will be more dangerous for society. ”

gender Balance

In her first speech to the European Parliament (16 July 2019), Ursula von der Leyen stated that gender balance within the committees should be prioritized. With europeisawoman on Instagram, referring to the mythological Greek woman figure Europe, she confirms her feminist struggle in the EU.

I ask Auken if she is also gender conscious in her work.

'Yes, I am a woman. That's my identity. I have always been committed to having the best gender balance in my work. I have been a priest for many years now, and I come from a home where my father was very solid with my mother. My husband has also been very solid with me. You can say I come from privileged conditions. The feminist project has not touched me and my life very much. Therefore, I am more concerned with the social project with environment and climate in my political career. However, I am very grateful that the feminist struggle exists, ”concludes Auken.

  1. Natura 2000 is a network of nature conservation areas, conservation areas and conservation areas in the EU designated under the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive.
  2. EU regulation setting out the criteria and procedures for deciding which Member State is responsible for treating asylum seekers, in accordance with the Refugee Convention and the EU Qualifications Directive.

Danske Margaret Auken (74) from the green left-wing party Socialist People's Party (SF) is the second woman presented in MODERN TIMES 'series on European women's thoughts on Europe and Norway's future. Auken is a graduate of cand.theol. from the University of Copenhagen (1971) and has been parish priest at Frederiksberg church (1972).

Auken co-authored the books DAAB (1977) The mouth and mouth of the church (1992) and 24 Christmas hymns and songs (2001), in addition she has written several articles and articles on, among other things, the environment, bioethics and church issues.

Her political career began with her membership in the Folketing (1979–1990 and 1994–2004).

She has been a member of the Nordic Council (1982–1990), is a member of the Council of Europe (1990–), and since 2004 she has been a member of the European Parliament for the European Greens.

MODERN TIMES's series is supported by Fritt Ord.

Pinar Ciftci
Pinar Ciftci
Ciftci is a journalist and actor.

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