Why we need to act

The EU is facing its deepest crisis in living memory

The neoliberal economic model adopted by EU leaders has set it on a collision course with nature: a path of obsession with economic growth without checking the consequences. This is the regional part of a wider global story.

The path is one of planetary destruction characterised by a will to keep subsidising fossil fuels and pumping out oil, contradicting the commitments the EU has made to tackle climate change. The basic narrative is that we can continue to grow without any costs and that technology will save the climate and, thereby, humanity. That narrative is flawed.

We are experiencing an extreme concentration of power and political capture by economic interests, leading to weak legislation and a loss of protection of people. There is a disconnect between how decisions are made in practice and the often-stated values of the EU (respect for human dignity and rights, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity). There is also a disconnect between those values and the way leadership works across the board in Europe today.

European leadership is based on a system of domination of power by men. This is not about the actions of individual men, but a deeply entrenched and flawed system. It is based on the values of competition, control and hierarchy and it replicates itself over time. Women, people of colour, youth and many others are missing from the leadership picture. It said that doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. But so too is doing the same things with the same people and expecting a different outcome. New kinds of leadership can lead to the emergence of different ideas and outcomes.

A mixture of neoliberal economics, patriarchy and racism sit at the root of Europe’s crisis. To get Europe back on the right track, we need to focus on those root causes.