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Formal address by President Michael D. Higgins to the European Parliament

Today at 12h00 (CET), President Michael Higgins will address a formal sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.  

There is no alternative to parliaments in delivering democracy, said Irish president Michael D. Higgins in his address to the European Parliament on Wednesday. Mr Higgins warned about the danger of losing accountability when making decisions during an economic crisis and called for new economic models to ensure we can successfully overcome the crisis.

Ireland is currently holding the presidency of the Council. Mr Higgins commended policies to tackle youth unemployment, adding: "The Irish presidency has put job creation, a most important social challenge, at the top of its agenda."

However, the Irish president said Europe needed new ideas instead of blindly following solutions that are proving inadequate. "A single hegemonic economic theory is the flaw of our times," he said. "If we are to address our challenges, I encourage you to let bold new models into the European discourse and to give them space in the Parliament's structure."

Mr Higgins also warned against complacency: "Europe is a legacy that cannot be taken for granted. Our citizens yearn for the language of solidarity, a commitment to cohesion, for inclusive rhetoric that is appropriate for an evolving political union ."

Irish Presidency
President Michael D. Higgins