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Debates
Wednesday, 3 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Short presentations by the candidates for election to the office of President
MPphoto
 

  Ska Keller (Verts/ALE). – Dear colleagues, but most importantly, dear European citizens. Five weeks ago you as citizens used your right to vote and elected us as your representatives. You have given us the mandate to shape the future of this House, and also the future of the European Union, and I want to thank you for putting your trust in this institution. But you have also given us a very clear message, and the message is that the European project is very much alive. You, the voters, have answered the hateful and divisive rhetoric of the populist right with a clear pro-European message, and I thank you for that.

(Applause)

Dear colleagues, the past elections have seen an increased voter turnout, and this is a very encouraging sign, but it also means responsibility to us as the European Parliament. Thanks to the voters, we now have a strong mandate to decide on the future of Europe and to hold the Commission and the Member States accountable. And as parliamentarians we have received a mandate to strengthen the European Parliament as an institution.

And I say: let’s strengthen the Parliament today and let’s strengthen it together by electing a Parliament President that embodies the independence of our institution. We cannot accept that the Presidency of this House is being treated as a bargaining chip in old-school backroom Council negotiations. This is not the signal we need to send to the citizens.

There can be no doubt the European Union is more important than ever. In the wake of climate crisis, growing social inequalities and international confrontation, we need Europe more than ever. But as EU institutions we haven’t always been very successful in reaching out to the citizens and telling them, convincing them, that we are actually working for them, addressing the issues that are most important to them. And as President I want to renew the trust and I want to make sure that the European Parliament is the space where citizens are discussing.

In the past few years we have been having debates on the future of Europe with heads of state and government, with presidents and so on, and this has been very interesting. But why not now change the direction and say “we’ll open the House and discuss the future of the European Union with the citizens, with civil society, with the people that shape our continent today”?

In Parliament we clearly defend human rights, democracy, the rule of law, and as Parliament President I want to be the ambassador for exactly those values and principles. And in order also to be credible as an institution we need to work, always and every day, to make sure we are fulfilling the principles that we ask others to fulfil, be it transparency, be it gender equality, be it inclusion, workers’ rights, and also reducing our ecological footprint. And, dear colleagues, the European Union is the biggest historic achievement of our continent. It has ensured peace, friendship and prosperity on a continent that used to be dominated by war and by hatred.

As elected Members of the European Parliament we have a shared responsibility to honour and to defend this historic achievement that we have inherited. I was born in a country that was divided by the Iron Curtain. I have lived on the border between Poland and Germany. I have seen for myself what it means when Europe brings people together, when Europe overcomes borders in the mines and on the ground. And I see also for myself a personal responsibility to defend that European heritage.

In order to defend Europe we also need to show the courage to change it for the better and, as the only directly elected EU institution, the European Parliament has a key role in making this leap forward. This House has been for many years fighting to defend and increase our rights as Parliament, because that means increasing the rights and representation of the citizens, the citizens who elect us, who send us to this Chamber. And to continue this work on parliamentary rights, I am running today for the honour of chairing this Parliament and I would be grateful for your support.

(Applause)

 
Last updated: 22 July 2019Legal notice