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  • 6 min read
  • Published: 30th May 2024
  • Press Release by Kate Brayden

Irish MEPs should push the EU to be more ambitious in tackling global challenges of our time

The EU cannot retreat out of fear of the fear-mongers," says Oxfam Ireland CEO.


Oxfam Ireland today published its manifesto for the upcoming European elections prioritising the great global challenges of our time – Inequality, Climate Change, Migration and Development Cooperation.

"Extremism thrives on inequality"
— Jim Clarken CEO of Oxfam Irelan

The gap between rich and poor is widening across the EU, and this is undoubtedly contributing to rising unrest and the scapegoating of minorities. We believe that the institutions of the EU need to refocus on their founding mission and values of human rights, freedom, democracy, equality, and the rule of law.

In practical terms, we believe that the European Parliament should, through the subcommittee on tax matters (FISC committee), take a more proactive role in ensuring more progressive corporate and environmental taxation and a reduction in tax avoidance.

On climate change, Oxfam is calling on MEPs to ramp up ambitions, not to row back on them, and spell out to electors how we will achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. The EU needs to commit to financing the global south to deal with the effects of European pollution through grant aid of sufficient scale to deal with the forest fires, deforestation, soil erosion, drought and extreme weather which is making whole regions uninhabitable.

Unbeknownst to many of us the EU is co-funding and co-managing centres akin to prisons at its borders for refugees and migrants. This behaviour tramples on the human rights of those seeking refuge and a chance at a better life. We can and should be better than that.

MEPs from Ireland should show the EU that if we are trusted partners of the global South we will gain so much more than we ever could by not returning to the extractive, neocolonial trade and defence policies of old.

"The world is crying out for a power bloc that puts ethics above economics alone and values our common humanity and not narrow interests. We need leaders to push the EU to be proactive, ambitious and courageous and not retreat out of fear of the fear-mongers."


For more information, contact:

Kate Brayden, Media Officer

Jacqui Corcoran, Communications Manager

Note for Editors

  • Oxfam Ireland’s manifesto is here
  • Summary of Oxfam Ireland policy asks of candidates to the European Parliament
  1. More progressive corporate taxes, starting with taxing share buybacks to disincentive the purchase by the company of their own shares, to more ambitious measures like sector-wide and automatic windfall profit taxes and a new system of progressive corporate taxation, where excess profit is regularly taxed at a much higher tax rate.
  2. Pushing the Commission for a more active role on individual forms of taxation, through the introduction of EU capital gain and wealth taxes, an EU assets registry, and a ban on harmful tax regimes for individuals (e.g. “golden passports”)
  3. Continuing to call for more effective measures against corporate tax avoidance, like implementing more robust action on the EU tax havens list, the introduction of a fair redistribution of taxing rights in the EU (through a revision of the BEFIT or a new proposal), adoption or implementation of an effective legislation against shell companies and enablers of tax avoidance, introduction of an EU-minimum withholding taxes on passive income.
  4. Urging the Commission on the need for progressive and fair environmental taxes, that do not hit the poorest citizens and countries, and monitor the impact of existing measures on the poorest (e.g. the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism).
  1. Ensure the costs and benefits of climate action are shared fairly by supporting actions to ensure a just transition throughout the EU.
  2. Ensuring that EU climate and energy legislation is reviewed to achieve at least 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
  3. Pushing for an energy transition within the EU that is fair, accessible, equitable and incorporates a gender-based perspective. The EU must reduce its energy demand, shift entirely to sustainable renewable energy, eliminate all fossil-fuel subsidies and all support for crop-based biofuels. Ensuring that farmers in both Ireland and the EU and around the world are properly supported financially to transition to sustainable food production and that trade rules and regulatory frameworks (especially food commodities) don’t disadvantage small farmers in the global South.
  4. Increasing the EU’s share of grant-based climate finance for mitigation, adaptation, loss & damage and supporting low- and middle-income countries in accessing clean, accessible and reliable energy.
  5. Ensuring the EU leads by example by ramping up climate action by committing to achieving climate neutrality by 2040.
  6. Ensuring that charity retailers in Ireland, as social enterprises, are supported to play a central role in the collection, sorting and reuse of textiles, as part on the implementation of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) on textiles after 2025.
  1. Monitoring the implementation of the EU’s Asylum and Migration Pact to ensure that fundamental rights, the rule of law and the right to asylum are upheld at European land and sea borders and within Member States. Most notably, the Parliament should push for an effective and mandatory solidarity mechanism prioritising relocation.
  2. Pushing for the rapid establishment of independent border monitoring mechanisms at the EU’s land and sea borders, in line with recommendations from civil society regarding their independence and functioning and based on lessons learned from the (so far inadequate) mechanisms established in Greece and Croatia.
  3. Monitoring the Commission’s role as Guardian of the Treaties and holding it accountable when it fails to launch disciplinary action such as infringement proceedings against Member States who systematically breach EU asylum law.
  4. Challenging the conclusion of untransparent migration ‘agreements’ with non-EU countries and attempts to externalize the EU’s border management, reception, asylum processing and protection responsibilities to non-EU countries.
  5. Pushing the EU Commission and relevant agencies to focus their efforts on upholding the right to asylum in the EU, increasing reception and asylum processing capacity on EU territory and increasing safe and regular pathways to Europe.
  1. Ensuring that any future EU policy on international partnerships and development are aligned with efforts to achieve the SDGs and bolster human rights. They should also be aligned with Ireland’s own ODA approach and comply with the EU’s treaties.
  2. Ensuring that the next round of the MFF bolsters the EU’s humanitarian and development budget to ensure it is fit for purpose, including by increasing annual ODA and meeting the 0.7% GNI goal. This also means prioritising human rights, sustainable development, and the fight against inequality in all foreign policies and budgets.
  3. Holding the Commission to account in the use of the NDICI Global Europe ensuring that it meets its ODA eligibility requirement of 93%.
  4. Holding the EU accountable to commitments held in the regulation and push for exceeding these targets particularly in areas of public service provision. These include the minimum 20% for human development, the 85% target of actions that should have gender equality as a principal or significant objective, and the 30% climate target.
  5. Championing Women’s Rights Organisations and increase the share of its ODA being channelled to these groups.