French MEP on hunger strike against 'obscene' EU budget

French MEP on hunger strike against 'obscene' EU budget
Credit: Pierre Larrouturou/Twitter

A French MEP went into a hunger strike on Wednesday in an unprecedented bid to denounce the "obscene" lack of funding for the climate and public health in the European Union's long-term budget.

"It is obscene to hear that there is not enough money for health, the climate, jobs, at a time when the financial markets are in better shape than ever," S&D MEP Pierre Larrouturou wrote on Twitter.

"To pile the pressure on [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Emmanuel] Macron, I will go on hunger strike," he added.

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The French MEP said he will remain in the European Parliament (EP) "day and night, without eating" to bring attention to what he described as a "scandalous" hollowing-out of the EU's budget for key areas of public concern.

"People are not aware of this, but we are heading towards a situation where there will be almost no money for climate, for health, nothing serious for jobs," he said of the bloc's incoming 2021-2027 budget.

Beginning day one of his hunger strike on Wednesday, Larrouturou shared a photo of himself with placards similar to those brought to global school strikes by young climate campaigners, including an identical sign to the one climate activist Greta Thunberg brought to her first-ever school strike outside the Swedish parliament.

"The only solution is to raise the EU's own resources through a real tax on financial transactions, which would make it possible to pay back the [coronavirus] recovery plan while at the same time financing health and the climate," he said, according to the Belga news agency.

Larrouturou's hunger strike comes as several MEP face down the EU Council in an attempt to get member states to agree to unblock €39 billion for several areas including education and research, which they say have been slashed in countries' proposal for the 2021-2027 budget.

The MEP served as the general rapporteur for the EU's 2021 budget is namely seeking to pressure the EU leaders to introduce a tax on financial transactions, to boost the EU's capacity to get through the coronavirus crisis as well as keep it on track to attain health and sustainability goals.

"If we don't tax speculation, the EU Green Deal is dead (...)," Larrouturou said announcing his hunger strike in an address to MEPS, adding that the bloc's ambitious climate law  would be nothing more than "beautiful words" which would "lead us to a dead planet."

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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