• Sixth in a series of debates between EU leaders and MEPs on Europe’s future 
  • Single market a prerequisite for Europe’s business 
  • The large number of UK citizens applying for EU citizenship is proof of the European Union’s added value 
Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel addressing the plenary in Strasbourg©European Union - EP 

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel debated the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission President Juncker on Wednesday.

“It is in the interest of European states to strengthen the community and speed up the process towards a European Union, exactly in those areas where citizens are calling for it”, Mr Bettel said, highlighting his conviction that only a European response can ensure the wellbeing of the continent’s peoples and address today’s global challenges.

 

“The single market is a prerequisite for our businesses to be and remain globally competitive and the euro continues to be crucial for the correct functioning of the internal market”, he added, underscoring that it is of strategic importance to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union.

 

Mr Bettel spoke in favour of taxing internet companies fairly, while ventilating the idea of tax decreases as a means to boost global competitiveness, without it resulting in tax dumping. He also insisted on the importance of proceeding with the EU digital single market, the great benefits of the Erasmus exchange programme and the need for solidarity in tackling the migration crises.

 

“We should not try to introduce flexible solidarity, which will only result in reciprocal lack of solidarity”, he said.

 

Finally, Luxembourg’s PM said that the added value of the European Union can easily be proven by the number of British citizens applying for citizenship in other EU countries following the Brexit vote.

 

Leaders of the main political groups and Commission president Juncker insisted that fair taxes should have priority over tax reductions, and that a digital tax in particular was overdue for multinationals to pay their contribution to the internal market. MEPs also discussed ways forward to tackle the Eurozone’s fragility and avoid the Italian crisis spilling over to the whole Eurozone.

 

Please click on the link to view the respective plenary speeches:

 

Opening statement by Xavier BETTEL, Luxembourgish Prime Minister

 

Statement by Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the EC

 

Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)

 

Maria João RODRIGUES (S&D, PT)

 

Hans-Olaf HENKEL (ECR, DE)

 

Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE)

 

Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE)

 

Dennis de JONG (GUE/NGL, NL)

 

Laura AGEA (EFDD, IT)

 

Marcel DE GRAAFF (ENF, NL)