In this op-ed, Michéal Martin, Ireland’s Taoiseach and leader of ALDE Party member party Fianna Fáil, speaks of the importance of the ALDE Party Congress, that he is hosting in Dublin, to coordinate the action of liberal leaders on today’s most pressing challenges.
As we gather at the ALDE Congress in Dublin over the next few days to discuss the many issues confronting Europe we all know that by working in solidarity we remain stronger than ever. Our core democratic and liberal values are held close as we debate on present policies and plan for the future.
We all learned from how well Europe focused on tackling COVID-19 19 together and how this benefitted our citizens in this once a century event. It is important to recognise that Europe produced its own vaccines and also became the biggest net exporter to the developing world. This illustrates in real terms how collaboration and solidarity work.
Europe has also been working consistently and constantly to sanction Russia for its illegal and barbaric war against Ukraine. We are all appalled at this insidious war against the people of Ukraine and of course the blatant disregard of democracy.
We have seen over the last 107 days how millions of people have fled and how they are being hosted across EU member states. We are all supporting Ukraine in every which way we can.
The war has ensured that we are all committed to exit from our dependency on Russia for oil and gas. This will have a two-pronged impact as every EU member is now accelerating our conversion to wind, solar and green energy.
The more we act now, the more time we will have to save the planet. Science has convinced us all that the challenges facing us from climate change are stark. The truth is not acting is not an option. We have all witnessed the extreme weather events across Europe in the last while. Extremes of droughts to flooding leading to destruction and death.
We have already agreed and reaffirmed a global goal under the Paris Agreement to hold temperatures increases to 1.5 Celsius. The sustainable finance agenda is advancing at a rapid pace and there is now a n increasing focus from governments, regulators and investors.
The European Commission’s strategy for financing Europe’s transition to a sustainable economy allows each member state to have an ambitious roadmap. Europe’s financial systems and indeed our economies are so interconnected that there is clear value in working together to develop common sustainability standards and rules while investing in worthwhile green activities.
Wealthier countries will have to deliver effective accessible and transparent financial support to developing countries that are struggling to cope with extreme weather events and climate impacts.
There was a lot of commitment made at COP 26 and Europe will continue to lead on climate change commitments in Fit for 55. Climate change is the single greatest challenge we face as a continent and as a planet and we must work in unison to meet our goals.
I look forward to meeting my ALDE colleagues while we debate climate, sustainability and many other important issues at our Congress in Dublin.
This opinion piece was originally published in EUROACTIVE, 1 June 2022.
Photo credit: Fianna Fáil