By Erik Edman for DiEM25
As we predicted right after the European Parliament voted not to renew glyphosate’s licence in Europe, the European Member States have now ignored all democratic voices and have decided to renew the licence of the potential carcinogenic herbicide.
This decision does not only ignore the precautionary principle and a score of scientific studies indicating that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic; it is a direct show of contempt towards citizens and their sadly flawed European democratic tools. The European Citizens Initiative (ECI) which, provided a million signatures are gathered, allows Europeans to mandate the European Commission with a topic on which to initiate debate, is an infamously unusable format, with the vast majority of such initiatives being scrapped. However, in this case over 1.3 million signatures were collected by the ECI “Stop Glyphosate“; a historic victory for civil society and citizen activism, which regardless was unceremoniously ignored by European governments.
Of course, this decision also exposes the European Parliament, an institution filled with many passionate and principled individuals, for what it really is: the European Union’s astronomically expensive public relations stunt. Power, as the member states have reminded us, rests ultimately with our bickering, inward-looking governments and the powerful lobbyists who have their ear.
But this sad failure for democracy is also a timely reminder on the lead-up to the European Elections of 2019: our democratic structures are woefully inadequate for representing European citizens. That was never what they were designed to do. So, instead of being appeased with scraps that only aesthetically improve the established way of conducting politics, while ensuring minimal disruption to those in power, it is time we demand that these European institutions become answerable directly to us. Come 2019, this is what DiEM25 will demand, loud and clear, across the entire continent.
Erik Edman is DiEM25’s Internal Communications Coordinator.