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Citizens will give us the strength to continue building a resilient and progressive EU

I welcome the results of the latest Eurobarometer: 68% of European citizens believe their country’s EU membership to be a good thing.

Citizens seem to be more in tune with the EU than some of the leaders governing national member states seem to think. I also speak for my own country, Italy, where 64% of Italians considered positively staying in the European Union—a 5% jump from last year when they were 59%.

I am pleased to see that citizens, despite the growing difficulties of our changing times, increasingly support the European Union. That gives us the strength to continue building a resilient and progressive EU.

There is no other alternative than being together. There is no way back. We cannot go back to old national formats. We should not be destabilised by nationalistic discourse.

Understanding and embracing change will allow Europe to move forward and shape the global order for the 21st century.

This is why, when I became president of the EESC I have launched a programme based on a rEUnaissance of Europe. Working towards economic and social sustainability, maintaining peace and reasserting our culture and values is the winning ticket.

The strategy is there. It is called Agenda 2030. Europe must be sustainable – or it will simply not be. Civil society has always been a strong advocate of Agenda 2030, which it believes it must become the win-win strategy of the next decade as it allows to weld economic, environmental and generational imperatives for the European Union and the world.

We need to grasp the causes of popular discontent and rebuild the moral foundations of our model of democracy: Liberté, Egalité et fraternité. More and more I see this fraternité being lost. But it's not too late as the citizens told us once more yesterday through the Eurobarometer.

It was in that spirit that last week, I signed a declaration with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, to strengthen cooperation ahead of the European elections. 

There is no time to waste to fight disinformation and fake news. Europe's values must prevail against any erosive factors. It is because of our values that we have made Europe a better place, probably the best and most attractive place for the majority of its people and for millions of people outside Europe.

Europe is Hope and is still the best place to live and work, to start a company or a family, to study or to receive medical care. Europe is the greatest gift that we can give our children today.