L’Europe dans les calanques

Europe in the Calanques - Rights of people, women and nature

This Saturday, October 22, 2022, our team set up at the Col de Sugiton, at the start of the Calanques de Luminy towards Marseille, to collect the opinions and contributions of a hundred or so walkers on the themes “Rights of peoples, women and nature”. 

Rights of the people

On the subject of people’s rights, the participants expressed the need for civil democracy and more respect for the freedom of individuals, for example through the promotion of cultural encounters and differences. 

It is important to restore the ideals of democracy and justice in our European societies; these ideals imply for many participants the opening and welcoming of refugees, and even the global opening of borders. 

At the European level, a redistribution of wealth, the nationalization of certain companies and a harmonized labor law in the countries would make it possible to limit social dumping and would reinforce the confidence of the citizens towards the institutions, supposed to represent them. In this respect, a “deprofessionalization” and a “re-civilization” of elected officials are recommended. 

Education appears as a key tool for growth and a weapon to fight against ignorance. Considering the promotion of benevolence and respect, and reducing the presence of competitiveness with others from an early age, would have a positive impact for the future. 

Women's rights

The participants who expressed themselves on the question of women’s rights in our societies emphasized the need for renewable and free sanitary protection for all. Free contraception and an extended right to abortion throughout Europe are also demands expressed. 

Several citizens expressed their dissatisfaction with the guilt of women when they denounce the violence they have suffered and the questioning of their accusations. The accompaniment of the complainants, in particular on sexual violence, must be crucially improved, and certain taboos lifted for a better care of the victims, for example incest. The women also expressed the insecurity they experience in Marseille. 

Finally, equal pay is an objective to be reached, as well as a better representation of the female sex in important political and economic positions. 

Rights of nature

Participants expressed a sense of urgency regarding the fight against climate change. Political institutions and personalities, at all levels of governance, must take up the issue and do more to reduce the carbon footprint of our societies. Instead of making ordinary citizens feel guilty for low-impact actions, politicians should tax the real pollution-producing structures, such as companies that continue to launch new fossil fuel extraction projects. 

At the institutional level, respecting the Paris agreements and considering giving a legal personality to nature are ways of progressing, as well as favoring rail transport over air transport, reducing the cost of electric or hybrid vehicles, or introducing a penalty on the resale of a house if it does not meet environmental requirements. 

The citizens generally expressed themselves against the artificialization of land and urbanization, and in favor of cities and agricultural spaces with vegetation. The issue of public transport, especially in Marseille, came up several times. The people of Marseille clearly want a more efficient transport system and a better consideration of bicycles in the city, with the construction of bicycle paths. Concerning the food of the citizens, they plebiscite an organic and local food, and at the same time more means to limit the food waste. They expressed the urgent need for a better waste sorting system, and even the introduction of a deposit for containers. 

Communication and education seem to be essential components in changing attitudes. Many participants supported additional classes and workshops in schools to raise awareness about nature conservation and forest fires. 

The objective of this action

Our “European Citizenship” team is committed to animate the local debate and to bring back the citizens’ opinions to the European institutions, thanks to its label EUROPE DIRECT center. The European actions, such as the Conference on the future of Europe, a great participative project carried out from 2020 to 2022, the initiative 2022 European Year of Youth and its platform of expression (contribution on women’s rights) or the platform “Have your say” which allows Europeans to give their opinion on the European legislation, are used by our team and valued. For example, thanks to the results of the workshop, we have contributed to the initiatives “EU Fisheries and Aquaculture – Energy Transition” and “EU Voluntary Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, and we will contribute to future initiatives.