Can anything good come out of this crisis? The answer is yes.

By Laura Sullivan, Executive Director of WeMove Europe, March 2nd 2021

In her book ‘Hope in the Dark’, Rebecca Solnit writes that there is so much hope in uncertainty. [1] Amid headlines of 2.5 million covid deaths worldwide -- 2.5 million human stories of sadness, it’s not easy to dig deep and find hope in the uncertainty of what comes next. [2]

So how do we find that hope? Can anything good come out of this crisis?

The answer is yes.

We can’t possibly predict now what the long-term impact of Covid will be. But what we can do is find the opportunities to nudge things in the right direction. In other words, there is so much we can change for the better inside this crisis.

And as a people-powered community of nearly 1 million people who call Europe their home, we are well placed to make that change happen.

Back in January, I wanted to hear about what you thought would be worth fighting for. Many from the WeMove Europe community responded to that question and others in the survey I sent around.

Results from our member survey

Here are the key takeaways I wanted to share with you:

The thing this community cares most about is making sure the €750 billion in EU post-COVID recovery funding is spent on making the planet sustainable: this is probably the best chance we have of transforming things in Europe right now and we are going to take it. What it means is making sure that our governments have kickass plans to spend that money that benefit people and future generations and don't give cash to fossil fuel companies.

There is more. Across our community, people care about other people, particularly migrants and refugees. We will keep up the fight for a more welcoming and humane Europe that we can actually be proud of. The next step is to make sure that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, is accountable to us and our leaders. Frontex and its Director, Leggeri, are now being investigated by the European Parliament. [3] Could we see a change this year in how we treat people on the move?

Stopping corporations from dodging their taxes rated highly pretty much everywhere. Numerous corporations, especially the digital giants, have seen their wealth and profits grow to new highs during the COVID crisis. Meanwhile this is the year when the EU will discuss whether citizens should be allowed to see how much big multinationals like Google, Facebook and Amazon pay in taxes in all countries. This is a story we can change.

The question of the Common Agricultural Policy also rated high all over the place, especially in Germany, France and Italy. We still have a chance this year to get Europe over the idea of subsidising super-sized farms, fertilisers and pesticides and to get to a different way of producing food that is healthy, fair and sustainable.

These are just some of the big stories of change we want to be part of this year.

Against the darkness and confusion of these strange times, what gives me hope that we can change things is the power of this community when we speak out together from our different contexts, locations and languages towards the same thing.

We are called upon now to throw everything we can at using this ongoing crisis to change things for the better. Let’s keep it up. We were made for this moment.