Jyrki Katainen: We need deeper EU integration that is fair to all member states

Future of Europe/European integration - 16-04-2013 - 15:52
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Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen during the debate on the future of Europe

Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen

Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen called for a stronger Europe and a deeper and fairer integration during a debate with MEPs on the EU's future in Strasbourg on Tuesday 16 April. Mr Katainen said in his speech: "We have a lot to defend and we should do this with pride." He also spoke out against the rise of extremism in Europe, stating: "We should not let nationalistic and populist voices dominate the European debate."

Mr Katainen said too many Europeans - especially young people - are unemployed today and said he could understand how they felt as Finland had its own financial crisis in 1990 when he was still a student.

Talking about integration, the Finnish prime minister told MEPs: "We must respect our common European values and rules we have adopted together.  We need to strike the right balance between solidarity and responsibility." He added: "if we all play by the new rules, our economies will get stronger. This is not just economic theory, it is plain common sense."

EPP group leader Joseph Daul, from France welcomed Mr Katainen's statements on heading towards a more integrated and fairer Europe. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda, from Austria, stressed that fair integration also means cooperation between the north and the south of Europe.

Mr Katainen has been Finland's prime minister since the summer of 2011.

REF.: 20130416STO07337

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