There are too many people who feel that their opinions are not taken on board. If this feeling persists or even grows, our democratic system will risk collapsing, and so will our project of peace, prosperity, growth and cohesion in which I believe from the very bottom of my heart. We must get to work now, have a fresh start and be prepared to re-energise change for what I call 'rEUnaissance' – a new renaissance for the European Union.
Speeches & Statements
In the EU as well as in neighbouring countries, representative democracy is experiencing a crisis of legitimacy. One manner of addressing this challenge which puts at risk our democratic societies is to promote participation. Involvement in local democratic processes builds trust, generates an understanding of the complexity of democratic processes and empowers citizens.
I welcome today's proposal on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework and the Commission's significant effort to come up with an EU budget fit for the future. The proposal contains many constructive elements for a Europe that protects, empowers and defends, yet, on one crucial point, I would have preferred a more daring and ambitious plan. I remain convinced that the current ceiling for EU expenditure has to be increased to 1.3% of GNI to face the growing EU agenda.
Europe is still troubled by high levels of unemployment, affecting in particular young people. The risk of social exclusion and poverty has never been so high and the problem of the working poor undermines social progress. When you add the unresolved migration crisis and the low levels of trust in democratic institutions, citizens might feel lost and fear for the worst. On International Labour Day, however, we need to look at the glass half full, rather than the one half empty. Let's not forget that Europe is home to the world's most advanced welfare systems and the European Social Model is a success story. It has proved its resilience during the extremely harsh economic, financial and social crisis that hit Europe in 2007.
As international and regional players gather in Brussels for the second Conference co-chaired by the EU and the UN on Supporting the future of Syria and the region, the newly elected President of the European Economic and Social Committee Luca Jahier urged the EU to do whatever it takes to bring change for the millions of civilians at risk in the war-torn country.
In an inspiring speech, delivered on 18 April at the EESC plenary, which marked the end of the presidency of Georges Dassis and welcomed the new presidency of Mr Jahier, the new president set out the four priorities of his programme: sustainable development, promotion of peace, strengthening the role of culture and giving a voice to Europe’s young people.