President Tajani on the future of Europe debate with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, welcomed the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, in Strasbourg as part of his initiative inviting EU leaders to debate the future of Europe with MEPs.
Following Prime Minister Rutte’s address, President Tajani stated:
“Shared challenges don't stop at national borders. We count on the Netherlands to play a constructive role in tackling security, migration, unemployment and climate change by championing citizen-centred EU reform. I want to thank Prime Minister Rutte for his participation in today’s debate.
"The European Union's own survival depends on the handling of migration. We need to be very clear: Member States alone cannot solve the problem. We need a short, medium and long-term strategy. In the short-term the urgent priority is stopping trips from North Africa and preventing deaths at sea and in the desert. In the medium term, we need to support the stabilisation of Libya, with the aim of creating a state that can be an interlocutor with Europe. In parallel, we must deploy a strategy including the next EU budget, foreseeing more investment in the African continent. In July, I will go to Niger, and if possible to Libya. The European Parliament has to be a main actor in solving the biggest challenge of our times.
"The European Parliament, represents half a billion citizens, has approved a reform of the Dublin rules which can be an excellent basis for discussion between the Member States. We did not go for the weaker option - we combined firmness with solidarity. This is therefore a good basis. We are ready to discuss and to seek compromise. The next European Council cannot remain in deadlock as this is putting in peril the very same balance of our European Union.
"To tackle the challenges we face now, we need an ambitious budget funded from the EU’s own resources. The Parliament has a clear proposal on this too. We want to create a level-playing field between companies who pay taxes and create jobs here and those who send huge profits outside the EU without paying their fair share. A ‘web tax’ on online platforms could generate billions of euros, without having our citizens paying anything extra into the EU long-term budget.”
Click here to watch this morning’s debate.
Click here to watch President Tajani and Prime Minister Rutte’s press conference.
Heads of state and government from Ireland, Croatia, Portugal, France, Belgium and Luxembourg have already debated MEPs. Over the next few months, leaders from Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki (July); Greece, Alexis Tsipras (September); Estonia, Jüri Ratas (October); Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen (November) are scheduled to come. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, will speak on 23 October, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will join us in November.