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This week, I exchanged views with representatives of national parliaments and Members of the European Parliament on the future of Europe as we have a co-responsibility in carving the narrative on the European Union. I presented what the Committee has done on the future of Europe and our plans ahead of Sibiu and the EU elections. Drawing conclusions from the wealth of activities, it is clear that whatever the Future of Europe will be, it will have to be citizens-driven.
The future is today – it is becoming reality faster than we can track and predict it. Just as people get to grips with one new technology, another one comes along. Our workers find it hard to keep up with the latest developments in tech. For some this is exciting, but others feel frightened.
Today, the EESC has adopted, with an overwhelming majority (140 votes for, 3 votes against and 7 abstentions) its opinion on the Multiannual Financial Framework, proposed by the Commission on 2 May. With less than 8 months to go before the European elections, this file is a crucial one as it measures the scale of our ambition for the future of our European Union.
I salute President Jean-Claude Juncker for today's State of the Union in the European Parliament. At the start of a difficult period, culminating with Brexit and the European elections of 23-26 May, the European Commission President has shown that it is essential for pro-Europeans to speak out, loudly and strongly, shouting that Europe is worth fighting for. His speech was not a farewell, despite being his last State of the Union address, but a comprehensive programme for the year ahead. There is no time to waste.
Today’s early-morning agreement of the European Council on migration is a step forward to build a stronger future of Europe. We have avoided the worse, now it’s time to walk the walk.
Despite a very tense debate on migration, EU leaders put on the same level not only the effective control of EU’s external borders, but also an "increased external action and the internal aspects, in line with our principles and values.”
Last week will remain engraved in our memories. TV channels around the world broadcast images of children separated from their parents at Texas borders and here in Europe the conflict over migrants and refugees has reached the highest possible level of confrontation. Have we lost our humanity? Have we forgotten our values?
Millions are fleeing war or persecution worldwide. As we commemorate their strength and courage on World Refugee Day, we try to be calm quoting the record high number of 68.5 million displaced people - 3 million higher than the total population of the UK - 25.4 million refugees, 40 million internally displaced and 3.1 million asylum seekers.
The responses to the multiple crises that the European Union has been confronted with have increasingly led European citizens to become disenchanted not only with the European Union itself but also with democratic institutions in general – both at the European and national level. There is a serious risk of EU citizens no longer seeing the added value of the EU for their living and working conditions as well as for their future perspectives and those of their children and for losing a common sense of belonging.
The subject of Culture is close to my heart– it is one of the four priorities of my presidency alongside peace, sustainable development and youth. These are the pillars of the new European Renaissance we must urgently strive for.
Culture is not only a driver of economic growth and social cohesion, it has been one of the drivers of European identity for many centuries.
It is clear that our Union, this unique model of democratic exchange, collaboration and compromise, allowing for the longest period of peace in the history of Europe, is facing numerous challenges. We must get to work now, before it is too late. Our democratic system, our Europe is worth the fight. It may be challenging, sometimes frustrating - as we human beings are - but I am convinced that it is the best that we can imagine.
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.
Dare to dream the Europe of tomorrow
Wystąpienia i oświadczenia