The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament condemns the appalling murder of George Floyd in the US and the subsequent police crackdowns on peaceful US protesters and European journalists. In a statement, the Group noted how racism has divided the United States for too long and these brutal police killings of the black community must end in order for the country to heal and become whole again. Peaceful protests should not be hijacked by those seeking violence.
Renew Europe, a centrist political grouping, is calling for a debate and a clear position from the European Parliament to address these issues – which are fuelled by populistic and extremists movements who try to divide our societies, attacking the foundations of our common values – and also the issue of police brutality against minority groups.
Dacian Ciolos, President of Renew Europe commented: “The appalling murder of George Floyd sent shockwaves across the world and Europe cannot be silent. In the wake of his death, European leaders need to urgently reflect and commit to tackling the structural racism and discrimination faced by many minority groups.”
‘Renew Europe believes the European Parliament must have its say on this matter. The reaction of US police forces to peaceful demonstrators – including many European journalists – is deeply concerning. If this harassment of journalists doing their job was happening anywhere else in the world, America would be condemning it. Enough is enough – a free press is a pillar of any democracy, no matter how large.’
Sophie In’ t Veld, Renew Europe Coordinator on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee commented:
‘Transatlantic relations cannot be business as usual. As the closest friend and ally of the United States, it is particularly important that Europe speaks out. Commission President von der Leyen stated this Commission will be ‘geopolitical’. That means Europe has to remind the US that common values and mutual trust are the foundation of our transatlantic cooperation.’
‘We have to bolster safeguards in transatlantic law enforcement and security cooperation, notably for the sharing of information. As Europe has banned exports on drugs used for the death penalty, we should also explore the possibility of export restrictions on any equipment used to target peaceful protesters and European journalists alike.’
Hilde Vautmans MEP, Renew Europe Coordinator on the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said:
‘Let the death of George Floyd mark the beginning of a new era. One in which we all live up to treating people equally, always and everywhere. Let’s acknowledge that fighting racism and racist bias is a shared responsibility and that we all can make a difference. Let’s start today.
‘As allies of the US, it is important the EU can also be critical friends. The violence we have seen perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators, including journalists, is unacceptable. ‘