On 5th December, EHF President Giulio Ercolessi and Policy Officer Julie Pernet met with the European Greens Party in the perspective of the European elections of next May. This meeting with Secretary General Mar Garcia was the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest and to present some of our main concerns in the coming political battle and for the next legislature.
The EHF first focused on the need for European institutions to stand more openly and strongly for freedom of thought worldwide and especially for the rights of non-believers. Indeed, according to the 2018 Freedom of Thought report released by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the situation is far from improving for proclaimed atheists, rationalists, humanists, free thinkers, non-believers and/or those who are critical of religious and societal norms. Very few speak on their behalf.
The next topic discussed was the alarming situation of fundamental rights and the rule of law within the European Union, with the rise of extremism in countries like Hungary, Poland, Romania, Spain and Italy. The EHF requested the Greens Party’ support for the creation of an European independent mechanism that would monitor the situation of human rights and the rule of law in every EU member State. Such a mechanism would entail recommendations to be addressed to the Member States in a systematic manner.
In the same perspective of increasing transparency within the EU, our President echoed the Greens Party’s ambition to simplify the rules of the European Citizens Initiative and requested that the verification of the signatures collected be done by the European Commission and not by national data protection authorities. Indeed, in a context where nationalism and extremism are rising, it is to be feared that it can be unsafe for citizens of several countries to share sensitive data about their political engagement with their national authorities.
Finally, the case of several of anti-human rights religious lobbies was discussed, which are extremely active towards European institutions and strive to prevent any progress regarding gender equality, sexual and reproductive rights and LGBTI’s rights. Since these rights are one of the priority of the Greens Party, the Secretary general committed to spread relevant information about these anti human rights lobbying activities to their colleagues.
This very constructive meeting was a first step to what the EHF hopes will be a stronger collaboration during the next legislature. The European Humanist Federation will be pleased to discuss these issues with other parties in the perspective of the European elections.