Europe - Frequently Asked Questions

How can you support the EU after what they did to Greece?

Many people were shocked by how the EU treated Greece when the country found itself in debt that it couldn’t pay. But leaving the EU would be simply to turn our backs on the people of Greece and any other people who find themselves in a similar position in future. Instead we should act in solidarity with any country that is forced to adopt similar measures like austerity and privatisation. Syriza supports Greece and the UK remaining part of the EU, and continuing to build a social and environmental Europe together.

Why are Greens arguing to remain a member of the European Union, when you argued for Scotland to independent in 2014?

We argued for independence from Westminster because we believe decisions currently made at Westminster could better be made at Holyrood and in general power should be devolved to the lowest appropriate level. But there are some issues that don’t stop at borders, like fighting climate change or tackling bankers’ bonuses, where international agreement is needed. That’s why we need to remain in the EU to argue for a social Europe.

Haven’t Cameron’s reforms made the EU a worse place?

We oppose Cameron’s reforms, and will continue to oppose them. We believe the EU should be tough on corporations and the powerful, but should look out for the most vulnerable people, including migrants. As one of the biggest nations and loudest voices in Europe, the best place for the UK to argue for a more humane Europe is within the EU.

Surely Greens support devolution of power to the lowest possible level?

We support devolution of power to the most appropriate level. Some issues, such as planning how we use land or managing our schools, are best handled by local councils. Other issues, such as fighting climate change, or tackling bankers’ bonuses, need action at in international level. We also want to see a much more democratic EU, with more power to the elected European Parliament and less for the unelected Commission and we want to see greater transparency and accountability in European institutions.

If Scotland votes to remain but the UK as a whole votes to leave, should that trigger a second Scottish independence referendum?

This would definitely increase pressure for a second independence referendum. We support a second referendum if there is support for that from the people of Scotland, and we will campaign for independence, just as we did in 2014. But whether Scotland remains within the UK or not, it is clearly in Scotland’s interests to be in the EU, arguing for more social and environmental protection.

How you can be in favour of the EU when they’re signing up to TTIP?

The Westminster government are the loudest cheerleaders for TTIP, and ministers would happily create an equally dangerous deal with the US if we left the EU. You only have to look at our proposed trade deal with Ethiopia, or our recent deal with Colombia, to see that Westminster is more than happy to sign up to deals that do just as much damage as TTIP – and include the kind of rules that allow big companies to take governments to court. On the other hand, lots of people in countries across Europe are fighting TTIP. If we are to defeat TTIP, we must stand with them and fight it together.

Isn’t the EU full of corporate lobbyists?

Corporate lobbying in the EU is a big problem. Greens argue for greater transparency, democracy and accountability in EU decision making and are seeking ways to reduce the impact of corporate lobbyists on public policies and to improve recently introduced transparency measures. There are many lobbyists in the UK Parliament too, and if we left the EU you can be sure their influence would increase. The way to avoid the worst effects of corporate lobbying is transparency and accountability, not leaving the EU.

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