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 Full text 
Debates
Wednesday, 1 March 2017 - Brussels Revised edition

16. Statement by the President of the Commission on the White Paper on the future of the European Union
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  Gianni Pittella, on behalf of the S&D Group . – Mr President, I know you, President Juncker, as a devoted pro-European, a man who all his life has fought to make Europe better and stronger. But the White Paper the Commission is now presenting has disappointed us now that Europe is faced with unprecedented challenges: a protectionist US President, Russia and China on the rise, and the bloody war on our doorstep from which millions of people are running for their lives; now that populists show their ugly face in every corner of Europe; now that hardworking families all over Europe are struggling to make ends meet and are worried about their children’s future; now that our common European House, which has sheltered us for decades, has to weather the toughest storm ever. Now you are presenting us with a reflection paper and scenarios instead of a clear plan to fortify our House to weather this storm. You are right, President Juncker, in showing all the political difficulties, because the difficulties are real; but it is necessary, it is essential, to indicate one political priority, one political option, because the European Commission is not a bureaucratic body but a political body, and you know very well that we support you for this reason. I can only see one option, the fifth option, because it is the only viable option: to work together as Europeans and to do much more together, because together we are stronger.

There is so much left to do. Our House needs a strong Social Pillar to protect our citizens. And it needs European fiscal capacity. We must complete the European monetary union and build a sustainable Europe capable of fighting climate change and creating jobs and growth. We must combat tax fraud, and the project of a common European army is now more important than ever. We have to defend our inclusiveness without leaving aside the eastern countries. We can only achieve this if we stay united as Europeans. President Juncker, I call on you and on your Commission to take on your responsibility. You are the guardians of the Treaties, the guardians of the common European good and our common European future at this time. We ask you to show leadership and urge the Council to take on their historic duty.

In a couple of weeks, we will celebrate the anniversary of the Rome Treaties. Only some years after a terrible world war in Europe, political leaders had the courage to commit to European unity and explained to their citizens why we Europeans are stronger together. After decades in which Europe has brought us peace and prosperity, is it really too much to ask of this generation of leaders to commit to Europe and make it stronger for the future? Let us not give up. Let us show political leadership in the fight together for a Europe that is better and stronger, so that our children and their children will have a good future.

(Applause)

 
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