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 Full text 
Monday, 21 October 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Effects of the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook Group (debate)

  Catherine Rowett, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, while thousands of holidaymakers were grounded and 21 000 staff lost their jobs, a wealthy elite were flying high from the collapse of Thomas Cook. For some hedge fund managers and financial speculators, this was just another business opportunity. Two companies in particular scooped up over GBP 200 million as Thomas Cook went under. These vulture capitalists make rich pickings by investing in financial products that pay out when a company defaults on its debts, as was the case with Thomas Cook.

But aside from this perversity of capitalism, we should also consider how Thomas Cook arrived at this destination. The company cited heatwaves and uncertainty over Brexit among the factors in its collapse. So the two biggest issues of our time, the climate emergency and Brexit, played a part.

It’s low-cost flights that are fuelling the heating of our planet, which in turn is making popular destinations in Europe unbearable at peak holiday times. Now, tackling climate change will involve new patterns of travel and different types of holiday: overland travel and more stay-cations will have to replace the existing model. And lamenting the loss of jobs in the old system must go hand-in-hand with a properly funded transition to a more secure future.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

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