German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a passionate plea in favour of the EU during a speech in the plenary chamber on Tuesday 4 April. "We should not give up on this valuable heritage and leave it up to the opponents of Europe. We need to safeguard it, look after it and improve it - that is our historic duty!" he said. "It's up to us to ensure the European dream is passed on to the next generation."
Steinmeier was welcomed by Parliament President Antonio Tajani. In his speech the German President said: "Europe is a complicated and demanding project, but it's worth all the effort."
He also warned against populists using fear for political gain: "It's wrong to say that in this world a European country can make itself heard or push its economic interests by itself and without the EU."
Concerning Germany's role in the EU, Steinmeier said: "We know what we owe the EU. We Germans want to keep the European Union together. We want to create a common future in Europe, together with our partners, large as well as small, with the same rights and obligations."