Speech at the Euro Summit by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tonight's decisions will determine the future of Europe and affect the lives of millions of people. None of us ever wanted to arrive at this point. Yet here we are.
When you Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras came to the European Parliament last Wednesday and joined us for a public debate in the plenary no one could have imagined such a dramatic escalation in only a couple of days. It is high-time we all calm down, not get absorbed by every small detail, but keep a cool head and focus on the big picture.
This big picture emerged during Wednesday's truly pan-European debate on an issue which concerns all Europeans; a debate which reflected the feelings and thoughts of Europeans from 28 countries and different political affiliations. At times the tension was tangible; emotions ran high; the debate heated up.
Yet, one thing became clear from the debate: a strong majority in the European Parliament is determined to keep Greece in the Euro-zone. But they want to see a clear commitment from Greece to remain in the Euro-zone, too. Members vowed to reject and oppose a Grexit. Because Europe would not be Europe without Greece and Greece's place is at the heart of Europe. A Grexit would be a lose-lose situation for all, with unpredictable, possibly catastrophic consequences.
There is no doubt that it must all start from Greece. Greece must be the first to help itself. Otherwise, any solution will not be sustainable. If Greece delivers, it is clear, as was evidenced in the European Parliament, that there is an outstretched hand from your friends to help.
Our economies and future are closely tied together and therefore a European solution is called for. A European solution is about reaching a compromise, one in which the different expectations of all parties are met. Europe is not a sum of national views or one opinion being imposed on others. Today is a day like no other day for such compromise. The stakes could not be higher. As President Tusk said during the plenary debate on Wednesday, this is the last wake-up call for Greece, and the last chance for all.
At this decisive moment for our union, I appeal to all of you in the name of the European Parliament to put aside past frustrations and irritations, possibly even mistrust, to re-build the confidence lost, and to demonstrate the political will to find a solution together and to find it quickly.
And to you Prime Minister Tsipras I make the following appeal: Negotiate with a true European spirit, ready to understand the other side, and ready to believe that the reforms being requested of Greece are for Greece’s own good. To all of you, your attitudes in the next few hours could be determining the Europe of tomorrow. Keep this in mind.
I know that everyone wants to come to a solution quickly. Our joint future is at stake. I urge all of you to act with responsibility and solidarity. This is not a time for divisions. It's time for unity.
Thank you for your attention