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Closing Speech: Mar Garcia

Dear friends,

I want to start by thanking all of you for making this Congress a great event. It has been a fantastic event and that is thanks to all of you. Thank you for your energy, discussions and engagement. There was a lot of work. 

The steering group knows it, having spent a lot of energy and time investing and preparing it. You are definitely worth it. 

It has been four days full of intense and positive work. We have freely discussed multiple proposals, and responsibly, we have been able to find common ground and compromises that allow us to move forward together. 

We are now leaving Liverpool, but enriched and ready to continue our mission. What is our mission? It is to offer alternative solutions to the current problems while keeping in mind the future. 

In these four days, we have met old friends and made new ones, too. Together we have confirmed what a big global Green family we are. We truly are! 

We are a movement with cooperation and networking strongly rooted in its DNA, focused on strengthening the links that will allow us to join the campaign on fighting climate change, on strengthening democracy and overcoming inequality. 

Today, I am going to talk about us. We deserve it. I’m going to talk about us, the Greens as activists. About our values and the current political agenda that we need to face. 

Greens are the best alternative to the most and threatening challenge we face today. The social and ecological sustainability of our planet. 

There are many other conflicts and of course we aim to have a voice on those too. 

Let me insist on a fundamental aspect. The only ecosystem compatible with human life is our planet. And therefore, there is no transformation strategy possible if it does not prioritise the planet. 

The environmental fight and Green activism has many different faces all over the world. Too often, there is much sacrifice, pain and sometimes even death. 

Today, here in this closing speech, I want to express my respect and admiration to those who have suffered. To those especially who have lost their lives defending sustainability, environmental and Green causes. 

I’m talking about Chico Mendes, and Bera Cáceres, About Isidoro Bldenegro of Mexico, Laura Vasquez from Guatemala, Emilsen Manyoma from Colombia, and Zaida Catalan from Sweden. I’m talking about the 185 environmental victims reported by Global Witness in 2015. About the 116 in 2014. And many others. Or about our friends in Belarus arrested and harassed by an authoritarian regime. 

To all of them, our recognition and respect. Our solidarity to their families and organisations because their fight is our fight. 

Dear friends, our Green values bring a philosophical understanding and among other ideologies, a very different and profoundly moral and ethical perspective. Max Weber, allocated in politics the task to manage the future and take responsibility of it.  

Green values are the best alternative solution to do just that. 

We have the best solutions needed to preserve future generations from a situation worse than the one we are in. 

Present generations do not have the right to deprive future generations from the welfare and health they deserve. 
We the Greens do not see the future as a waste bin of an unsustainable present. Or as a space where we dumped the unsolved problems that allow us to go on with business as usual. 

This generational interdependency obliges us to find new social and environmental contract based on intergenerational justice. 

We need to stop the logic of reciprocity. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. And move towards the ethical logic of transmission. If we want to be the voice of hope and a credible alternative, we need to show that we understand the necessary mediation between the heritage of the past, the priorities of the present and the challenges of the future. This is the real challenge, that democratic systems are facing today.

Today is a battle over a value set. It is Green values that are best placed to win. We have the responsibility to push our societies to take responsibility for the future. 

It has been us, the Greens, in many multiple formats, through our parties, by us being present in the movement, by our activism, who have been vocal on sustainability, who have increased sensitivity and awareness of intergenerational justice and future risks. 

And here we are today, facing a difficult and complex political agenda. Before we started our Congress, we were witness to two negative developments. Amelia has already mentioned one. President Trump signed the executive order that nullified Obama’s climate policies, and Mrs May triggered Article 50. 

What the current president of the United States is doing is very serious. He is threatening the fight against climate change. We cannot remain only critical. We need to develop strategies, we need to search for new allies that allow us to keep our fight going on, despite the USA stepping back. 

The role that the European Union will finally play will be a decisive one. We cannot give up. There is no time to be lost. We are the last generation able to stop the disasters of climate change. The next generations will only be able to mitigate its effects. We need to deliver on that responsibility. 

With regards to Brexit, on March 25, we celebrated in Rome the 60th anniversary of the European Union. A former well-known minister asked, “What exactly are we celebrating?” We Greens know what we are celebrating – the very existence of the European Union, because, despite all its difficulties and limitations, despite all its challenges, the Greens still believe today that the European Union is the most democratic and peaceful political, economic and solidary entity that exists. The least unfair. That is what we Greens were celebrating in Rome. 

We are fully aware of the current threats and challenges that the EU is facing today. We are fully aware of the disaffection of citizens towards it, the growth of nationalism and populism and of the anti-immigration and anti-European agenda. But at the same time, we must not forget it has been in Europe where national populism has recently been defeated. In Austria with the success of Alexander Van der Bellen and in the Netherlands where the right-wing did not achieve what they wanted. And these huge, huge defeats, I want to congratulate our friends from GroenLinks for those fantastic results. We really hope the next defeat will be for the Front National of Marine Le Pen in the upcoming presidential elections in France. 

2019, the next European elections. They will be difficult, they will demand compromises because Europe needs to reset. We Greens will sit at the table with a preservative attitude, to consolidate what we have already achieved with a reformist attitude towards what needs to be improved and with a decisive attitude towards what still needs to be invented. That’s how we will sit at the table. Because we are aware Brexit happened, and it has been painful. We can’t ignore it. The discussion during the campaign demonstrated exactly what I said earlier – the majority of youth voted to remain. A big majority of elderly voted to leave, compromising the future of the young. The present fears condition the future of the young. 

We Greens want to transcend the result of the referendum with a strict negotiation strategy, but nobody will know what Brexit will result in, but we advocate for a negotiation that keeps in mind the interests of both the EU and the UK citizens and that keeps the full freedom inseparable. 

Dear friends, I would like to conclude by talking about the essential actors of change – women. Without the empowerment of women, there is no possible change. Without our leadership, there is no possible rebellion, and without the recognition of our rights, there is no real change. 

This Congress has taken a lot of work, but also has given a lot of satisfaction. The effort was definitely worth it. I repeat it – John Lennon said, “Imagine all the people sharing all the world.” I can only imagine it together with all of you. Thank you very much. Have a safe trip home. Thank you. 


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