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 Full text 
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

European Parliament's position on the Conference on the Future of Europe (debate)

  Scott Ainslie (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, Brexit should serve as a dire warning to all of us as to what happens when ordinary people see the EU as distant, unaccountable and out of touch. It becomes terrifyingly easy for well—financed, far—right demagogues, aided and abetted by the populist gutter press, to turn people against it and whip up Eurosceptic fear.

In the UK, it’s too late. The damage has been done. But it would be an absolute tragedy if the EU didn’t learn lessons from the calamity that is Brexit. So, if the conclusions of this conference are to be worth the paper they’re written on, the voices of citizens and civil society must be heard loud and clear. This process cannot be reduced to a tokenistic rubber—stamping exercise.

It’s worrying that powerful lobbyists and big businesses find it easy to influence the politics of any government anywhere, while NGOs and ordinary citizens are too often muted and kept in the cold. At this vital Conference on the Future of Europe, it is absolutely critical that we seize this chance to amplify citizens’ voices of all Europeans, which I and my country – as proud Europeans – look forward to continuing to contribute to doing.


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