While the Green Party now accepts that the UK should stay within the European Union, it sees the EU as over-centralized and driven by a neo-liberal agenda.
Spencer Fitz-Gibbon, from the Party Executive, argues that ‘the EU at present is an EU mainly geared to serving corporate interests – we’d want it to serve public, social, ecological interests -subsidiarity and diversity but with internationalist cooperation, and with strict enforcement of minimum standards in human rights and ecological protection”.
Caroline Lucas, their MEP for the South East region, has been a tireless campaigner against UK participation in the single currency, which she and others in the Party see as a stepping-stone to increased globalisation.
The European project is perceived as a neo-liberal dream by most prominent party members with the euro being used to create a single massive economic power block.
Fitz-Gibbon typically sees the euro as a means of centralizing power in the hands of the ECB, noting ‘the electorate should have the right to choose policies on public spending instead of having to live by the deflationary growth and stability pact”.
On the new constitution he argues “yes we want a referendum (as we always would on a big decision like that)”. The Greens have been keen to reject xenophobic opposition to Europe and strongly believe in a locally based Union that decentralises power but guarantees a voice for regions and civil rights for all.
The Common Agricultural Policy would be transformed to promote organic farming, while the drive to build high speed road networks through to the East would be halted.
The Greens believe that they will play a key strategic role in any no campaign on a euro referendum by showing that opposition to a single currency does not need to be based on little Englander sentiments.
Nonetheless Party unity is potentially under threat from two quarters. Sister parties are overwhelmingly pro euro which makes cooperation from what is essentially a local chapter of a world wide Party increasingly fraught.
In turn a minority of activists, including members of the Green Economics Working Group, see the euro as a counter weight to US hegemony and are keen to see it replace the dollar as a world reserve currency.
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By Dionysia Pitsili-Chatzi, Aris Spourdalakis, Jodi Dean Leo Panitch, and Hilary Wainwright,