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 Full text 
Tuesday, 16 July 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Statement by the candidate Commission President (debate)

  Claude Moraes (S&D). – Madam President, Ms von der Leyen, there is a reason why you mentioned in quick succession two of the critical issues, which my Group regards as the key priorities, namely the relaunch of the Dublin process and the support for an additional, comprehensive European rule-of-law mechanism. I quote your words in your letter to our Group. And the reason is that, while these issues may not be the only important ones – you mentioned climate change, the social pillar and so on – they are issues which could make or break the European Union. We all know this. And for this reason, you are saying the correct words, giving the headlines that we want to hear, but, as you’ve heard from many Members, we need to have the concrete ideas underneath the words.

In the Dublin process, on this so-called Pact for Migration, you and I know that it requires qualified majority voting (QMV) from the Member States. The fact of this inertia in the Council – that there has been nothing on migration, while we see people drowning in the Mediterranean – is something that you can do something about. You mentioned QMV on foreign relations issues, but you didn’t mention it here. And the criminalisation of NGOs, and the humanitarian corridors: all these things are the detail that we need to hear.

On the question of support for the rule of law, again, we need the detail: the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the sanctions, Hungary and Poland – name the countries, because this is the essence of what we have to do here in order not to break Europe.

Ms von der Leyen, I’m a UK Member, and people are tweeting at the moment that you want an extension, come what may. This is not what you said in a letter to us. You said, in quite a dignified way, that should an extension be required for the United Kingdom there would have to be good reasons. And I think you dealt with the Brexit issue here in a dignified and pragmatic way. Pragmatic – that is the kind of partnership we want to see, as opposed to the kind of fantasy Brexit that we’re hearing about from other people in this Chamber. So, for this reason, pragmatic partnership is the way forward.

Last updated: 17 July 2019Legal notice