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Srijeda, 13. lipnja 2018. - Strasbourg Revidirano izdanje

6. Rasprava s premijerom Nizozemske Markom Rutteom o budućnosti Europe (rasprava)
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione con il Primo ministro dei Paesi Bassi Mark Rutte sul futuro dell'Europa (2018/2728(RSP)).

Ho il piacere di salutare il Primo ministro del Regno di Olanda, il signor Rutte. Lo ringrazio per aver accettato il nostro invito ad un dibattito con i deputati europei sul futuro dell'Europa.

A noi interessa conoscere le proposte del governo del Regno di Olanda. A noi interessa coinvolgere nel Parlamento, che è il cuore della democrazia europea, tutti i Primi ministri della nostra Unione, per avere un confronto sereno, franco e costruttivo sull'avvenire dell'Europa.

Quindi sono veramente lieto che il Primo ministro olandese abbia accettato il nostro invito e gli do immediatamente la parola.


  Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. – Mr President, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, President Tajani, for your kind introduction, and thank you, the Members of the European Parliament, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this series of debates with members of the European Council on the future of Europe. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here.

Winston Churchill once said: ‘Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.’ Churchill was right, we can’t predict the future. Unexpected events will always occur. But as politicians, it’s our job to lead and to chart a course. It’s our job to set goals and make choices that help achieve those goals. And looking at Europe and the world today, it’s clear: the European Union needs to make choices. Choices about its course and its role in the years to come.

I must say, my personal views on the importance of the EU have evolved over the years. Yes, there is a transactional, ‘bread and butter’ element. Member States all benefit from the Single Market, the monetary union and the free movement of people. But it’s just as important that the EU ensures security, stability and the rule of law. The mere fact that we work together, that we are embedded in this Union, makes us stronger, safer and more effective.

More and more, I’ve come to view the EU in this light. It’s something we in the Netherlands felt in the aftermath of the downing of flight MH17 in 2014, and yet again after the decision to hold Russia accountable for its part in it.

The EU united behind us, jointly calling for Russia to accept responsibility and cooperate with efforts to establish the truth and achieve justice and accountability. We are grateful for the support and unity shown by this Union.

Russia has continued in its denial; its baseless criticism of the investigation and its obstruction of the truth are a stark reminder of how much we depend on all parties uniting to achieve justice for the victims and their loved ones, and of the importance of upholding an international, rules-based system aimed at fostering peace and justice.

So today, I stand before you with a real sense of urgency. Because recent developments make it very clear that we cannot take our way of life, our way of doing business, or our way of conducting international relations for granted. The multilateral order is being challenged in a way that we haven’t seen in decades, and the geopolitical balance of power is shifting. This global dimension of Europe’s future is the first thing I’d like to highlight today. Because if we want to be able to act, if we want to determine our own future, Europe must stand united. Now, more than ever.

We must deal with the fact that Russia has chosen to distance itself from its neighbours in the West. We must deal with the ongoing conflict in Syria, and the arc of instability around Europe. With countries like China and India, which are stepping up their presence on the world stage, projecting greater self-confidence and a clear agenda. And with all the challenges and opportunities this brings for the EU, as the world’s biggest trading bloc and as a leading force for peace, stability and development.

Even the relationship with our most important ally is no longer self-evident. The USA has unilaterally pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed import duties on steel and aluminium, triggering a debate we thought was obsolete. But of course, we remain friends and allies. I personally have always been a strong believer in the transatlantic bond. We need to keep working as closely as possible with the USA. But we must also deal with the fact that the rules-based multilateral system is under severe pressure.

Since 1945, that system has greatly benefited Europe as a whole and the world around us. Indeed, the EU is the most successful example in world history of how multilateralism and the willingness to compromise can bring about unprecedented security, stability and prosperity. The EU is the ultimate example of the power of international cooperation and free trade. We know from experience that progress requires give and take. We know the value of seeking common ground, shared interests and sensible compromise.

So let us broadcast a strong message to the world: that Europe’s belief in the power of multilateral cooperation and free trade is as firm as ever, and that the EU Member States stand united in this, however much pressure we face.

I like to compare it to the wagon trains in those John Wayne westerns that I watched as a boy. The settlers made a conscious decision to jointly undertake the difficult journey westwards. Before setting off, they agreed to stick to certain rules. Rules on conduct, speed of progress and care of the sick. And when evening fell, or danger threatened, the settlers circled their wagons. Their unity gave them strength, stability and security. It’s the same with the EU. Unity is the bedrock of our strength. Unity defines our ability to act.

Sadly, Brexit will leave a big hole in our circle. The only positive effect is that it has made the other 27 Member States even more aware of the importance of unity and working together.

As a founding member, the Netherlands is committed to ensuring that our circle stays strong; that the EU remains successful and effective, that it continues to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. For the Netherlands, EU membership is self-evident. Because the Single Market has brought greater prosperity for more people than the founders of the EU could ever have imagined. Thanks to our shared values, most Europeans and more Europeans than ever before, enjoy legal certainty and protection.

But I must be frank. I firmly believe that a truly strong and unified Europe must embody that famous quote by Goethe: ‘In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister.’ ‘Mastery is revealed in constraint.’ Or, to put it another way, ‘less is more.’ More and more Europe isn’t the answer to the many problems that people face in their daily lives. For some, ‘ever closer union’ is still a goal in itself. Not for me. ‘Unity’ and ‘ever closer union’ are not the same. You don’t achieve unity by simply doing more in more areas. You achieve it by doing things really well in a few important areas.

So I believe we should be working towards a more perfect Union, which safeguards our way of life and delivers practical results. The EU needs to under-promise and over-deliver. Because focusing on our core tasks will promote the Union’s effectiveness, strength and identity. And it will boost unity.

I believe that the future of Europe should essentially be about the original promise of Europe: the promise of sovereign Member States working together to help each other achieve greater prosperity, security and stability. But we can only deliver on this promise if a deal is a deal, and if the difficult compromises we have to make apply to everyone, and in full. Europe isn’t a menu you can pick and choose from. That is – and always has been – the basic promise and the basic premise of our unity.

So let me be very clear: the debate about the future of the European Union should not be about more or less Europe. It should be about where the EU can add value. Where can cooperation achieve more than the Member States can achieve in isolation? Where does it make sense for sovereign Member States to make a positive and conscious choice to work together?

Originally, it was the Single Market and international trade policy. Then came EMU and the euro. Then, more recently, we added the common migration policy, joint control of our external borders and our collective security. Of course, there’s climate policy – by definition a cross-border issue. These are the areas where the EU needs to focus, because here Europe can achieve more than the sum of its parts. The challenge is to ensure that we do confine ourselves to these areas. And that we actually deliver on them. A Europe that adds value, sticks to its core tasks and achieves visible results can count on public support. That is why, once again, we need to under-promise and over-deliver.

So for me, the debate on the EU’s future starts with the questions: Is the EU still doing the right things? What new priorities are emerging? Where does the EU need to do things better, or differently? When it comes to new priorities, climate policy and climate policy is a case in point. The current EU target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030 predates the Paris Climate Agreement. But it isn’t enough. Not if we’re to play our part in keeping global warming below two degrees. Let alone aim at one-and-a-half degrees, as we agreed in Paris.

So for a Paris-compatible EU target. we need to raise the bar. I am proposing a 55 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


Not only to meet our obligations, but also because a competitive and forward-looking Europe is, by definition, a sustainable Europe. Can it be done? Absolutely! As long as we, the Member States, Commission and European Parliament, all make it our goal.

That’s what I’m asking you today. Together with countries like France, the Netherlands wants to lead the way on this new climate ambition, and to work with you to achieve it. Exactly as we’ve done before.

I still have a very clear memory, dating from the Dutch Presidency in 2016, of how we tackled the refugee crisis in record time through a big, concerted effort. As co-legislator on border control measures, you played a major role. Let us show once again, in this other, more insidious crisis, that Europe can take responsibility, and that together we can achieve a great deal.

And this brings me to what we need to do better. It’s an important question, because the EU has a tendency to make new agreements before existing agreements have been fully implemented. We all know the ultimate example: the Single Market. There is so much more we can achieve in the field of services and the Digital Single Market. According to this Parliament’s estimate of the cost of non-Europe, we’re missing out on over a trillion euros a year. So, with respect to the EU’s original promise and its future: this is what it’s all about.

Here, too, I have something to ask of you, especially the representatives of the larger Member States that are at this moment in no hurry to open up the market for services. I hope you won’t hold it against me, as Prime Minister of a country with a smaller domestic market and a long history of international trade, for mentioning the elephant in the room. We need to team up to unleash the full potential of the Single Market. Because we can’t pass up an extra trillion euros a year.


Another area where we could do better is the eurozone. We’ve come a long way, and the EU has shown that it can take action when it has to. But we are not sufficiently prepared for another crisis. The basic promise of the euro was that it would bring us all greater prosperity – not a redistribution of prosperity. That together we would achieve greater affluence. The pleas now being made to establish a transfer union fly in the face of this promise. Yes, I know that a currency union needs stabilisation mechanisms at times of crisis. But if the 19 eurozone countries were to put their own budgets and national debts in order, this would probably be stabilisation enough. That, too, is simply an existing agreement under the Stability and Growth Pact. A deal is a deal.

Of course, if – after putting its house in order – a country suffers a financial crisis and there’s genuinely no alternative, we should help each other, as good neighbours. We created the ESM, our collective safety net, precisely for that purpose. But we need to do things in that order.

Let’s not forget, we already have hundreds of billions of euros available in the EU budget to support structural reforms at national level. I strongly believe that we should use these resources, these existing resources, to fulfil the original promise of the euro, a higher level of convergence and competitiveness for all. Let’s use the tools we already have in place. Let’s make sure that the Commission and the Eurogroup work together to achieve this goal.

And yes, of course we must do better on migration. We must be prepared to tackle the next migration crisis. We must resist the unchecked influx of migrants and work harder on return. We really must take steps now to make the European asylum system fair and effective. If we fail to take these measures – collectively – we risk losing the advantages that Schengen has brought us. I applaud the work done by the Bulgarian Presidency on migration, and by the way, I congratulate Boyko Borisov on his birthday today!

Mr President, Members of the European Parliament, the debate about the future of Europe, about old and new priorities, is also at the heart of the debate on the next multi-annual budget. To the Netherlands, it is only logical that the budget should shrink after Brexit. And within that smaller budget, it is only logical that wealthy states should pay more – but not disproportionately so. The Netherlands is willing to pay its share, but countries with a comparable level of prosperity must make a comparable net contribution per capita. Member States’ financial contributions need to be proportionate and reasonable: that’s how we see it.

But figures aside, the Netherlands sees the next budget above all as a chance to show that the EU is serious about reform, by re-assigning funds to tomorrow’s priorities. We can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. We can’t face the twenty-first century with a budget that reflects the realities of decades ago.

At present, agriculture and structural funds swallow up 70 % of the budget. Spending less in these areas will make room for new priorities. We also need to reform the very substance of these policy areas, to make them fit for the future. That, too, is only logical; and it’s necessary. We must show the people of Europe that we practise what we preach. Because, as the old Dutch saying goes: trust arrives on foot and leaves on horseback.

In many countries, the EU’s democratic legitimacy, as well as public trust and support, are under pressure. For the future of Europe, perhaps our most important task is to regain that trust one step at a time.

Of course, the democratic legitimacy of the EU has various dimensions. There’s the formal, institutional dimension. And that centres on the fine balance between the members of national parliaments and you. I’m not giving away any secrets when I say that the Netherlands attaches great importance to the role of national parliaments. Because that is where we must address the question of what Member States can do better themselves, and what should be a matter for the EU as a whole. In other words, how taxpayers’ money should be spent.

Here, in the European Parliament, proposals for European laws and rules are discussed, amended and adopted. Here, implementation is monitored. And here, plans and proposals by the Council and the Commission for the future of the EU are weighed and discussed. In this way, national parliaments and the European Parliament together provide the EU’s democratic legitimacy.

But there’s also a less institutional dimension. Because legitimacy and realism are extensions of each other. So the EU needs to listen to what the citizens of the Member States want from it. And especially, what they don’t want. And it has to act on that.

I believe that delivering on the EU’s basic promise is crucial if support for the EU and unity are to be preserved. Yes of course, there can be no democratic legitimacy without the rule of law. Let me be crystal clear on that point: ours is a union of laws and values. Membership of the EU is not a statement of intent. It means opting unconditionally for freedom of the press, an independent judiciary, legal certainty and all those other democratic achievements that bind us together as a community of values.


It’s literally part of the deal. When you’re in, you’re in all the way.

This is a pressing issue for this Parliament too, I’m happy to say. Those who say that the rule of law is a purely national matter are wrong. The people of Europe can flourish only if the rule of law applies in all Member States.


Our citizens need to trust each other’s legal systems. And businesses need to know that their investments are safe, and that any disputes will be resolved by an independent judiciary. That’s why it’s vital that countries do what they agreed when they signed up as members of the EU, and that the Commission monitors this rigorously and independently.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, one of the founding fathers of the European Union was Johan Beyen, a post-war Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his memoirs, published in 1968, he refers to the story of the giraffe that Julius Caesar brought back to Rome from one of his campaigns. It’s said that the Romans weren’t sure what to call this strange animal.

Eventually they settled on ‘camelopard’, because it had a neck like a camel and spots like a leopard. Beyen wrote: ‘Europe is like a giraffe: an animal difficult to define, but easy to recognise.’ And fifty years on, that’s still a good description. Because Europe’s wealth lies in the diversity of its Member States and the regions, the histories, and all the different languages and cultures. That can’t be summed up in a few words.

At the same time, Europe is easy to recognise as a community of values and as a united partnership. It’s a circle of covered wagons that gives strength and protection, and that’s my core message. We don’t have to agree on everything – and we probably won’t today – in order to recognise the value of unity in a fast—changing world. That unity, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of Europe: our future.

(Sustained applause)


  President. – Thank you very much, Mr Rutte. The first reaction is positive. I think that a standing ovation is a good message from the European Parliament.


  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, I want to start by thanking Prime Minister Rutte for praising former Dutch Foreign Ministers. That’s always a good thing to do.

Listening to Prime Minister Rutte, I was thinking about one of the most important contributions the Dutch nation has made to Europe, as it now stands. I have to take you back to 1581 when, after a long struggle with the Spanish King, the Dutch Parliament (if you could call it at the time the States General) declared that, since the King did not perform his duty vis-à-vis the Dutch population, he had in fact left the throne – vacated the throne. This ‘Act of Verlatinghe’ is the first document in European history where it said that sovereignty is in the hands of the people, and for them to give to the rulers.

I think this has later also been the inspiration for the Declaration of Independence in the United States and for the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France, and therefore it constitutes, I believe, an essential element of today’s Europe and our values.

I wanted to take you back briefly to the Dutch Republic because the Dutch Republic, once it had obtained its independence and freedom, flourished incredibly to become a world power. And the elements of that were openness; entrepreneurial attitudes; audacity (to try and sail all over the world), but also respect for diversity; curiosity about what is different; openness to other religions and other beliefs; putting an end to persecution of people who had different beliefs. It’s interesting, if you follow Dutch history, that in those times when we were open towards what is different, we did well. And in those times when we became introspective, we became afraid of what is different, we set our backs to the outside world, we declined and we became irrelevant in world politics.

I think this applies to Europe today, and I really, on behalf of the European Commission, want to thank the Prime Minister for the sense of urgency he has expressed today before this Parliament.

This sense of urgency should be guiding what we do right now, because the unthinkable has become possible. Who would have said five years ago that the European Union can break up and disintegrate? Nobody. It was gratuitous to attack the European Union and its institutions, because they were unbreakable anyway. And now we’ve seen, as a consequence of the fourth industrial revolution, as a consequence of all these crises we’ve had, that the European Union is not unbreakable – which means that it’s valuable. Something that is breakable and fragile can be extremely valuable, and that is the European Union. So this is the time for people who believe in the European Union to stand up and come together and show unity, and this is precisely what the Prime Minister has advocated today. And I warmly welcome that.

What is creating this brittle element in our Union? I believe, to sum it up, it is, arguably, moral hazard. The Union functions because Member States trust each other that they will do what we agreed collectively. This trust has been eroded over the last ten years: between north and south, east and west, within the west, within the east. If we do not confront the issue of moral hazard, if we do not take that away, if we do not take that out of our Union, how could we ask our Member States and our people to share their destinies? I can only share a destiny with someone I trust and can rely on when I’m in trouble. If that is not the case, I will withdraw, because it is too risky for me. I believe that is where it starts, and that’s my own very urgent call upon the Prime Minister, as a Member of the European Council.

If I look back over the last couple of years, what is the issue that has brought the European Union to the brink? It’s the issue of migration. The issue of migration has played a key role in all of our Member States, wherever we are, and only if we, as a European Union, can convince our citizens that we do have an answer to this – not denying migration, not pretending you can solve it by building fences and building walls, not pretending that you can solve it by just letting everybody in – if you understand that we need a comprehensive approach on the migration issue and that only at European level will this comprehensive approach be valuable and work – if we cannot convince our Member States and our citizens of that, then we will be in the same situation as the Dutch citizens were in 1581. You have vacated your seat because you are not capable to deliver to the citizens what they demand as your sovereign, namely security and management of a migration issue that will be with us for generations. And I would call on the Prime Minister to use everything he can during the upcoming European Council to try and help the Bulgarian Presidency bring the issue forward.

I feel strongly supported by what President Tajani said yesterday when he called upon the European Council to see what Parliament has done in this line of work, to see what Parliament and Commission have proposed together. I think this is a good basis for a solution of this problem. We cannot leave our Member States alone with the issue. This is something Europe needs to solve. That is being big on big things.

One of the challenges that is new to us, which comes from the outside, is the fact that, for the first time since 1945, we now have a President of the United States who apparently believes that a disunited Europe is more in the interest of the United States than a united Europe. This is completely new and a paradigm shift. Again, this calls for Europe to be united, and I, these days, remember very well John F. Kennedy going to Berlin and at Berlin’s worst hour, saying to people in Berlin: ‘I am one of you, I am one of you and I will make sure that you will continue to live in liberty’. That’s an American President I am inspired by. Also by Ronald Reagan, going to Berlin again and saying to Mr Gorbachev: ‘tear down that wall’. That is an American President I’m inspired by, and he helped the great European liberators Wojtyła and Wałęsa to do what was necessary to bring freedom to the whole of Europe. That is an American President one can be inspired by.


I would echo what the Prime Minister said: the foundations of our relations with the United States on the basis of our values are extremely strong and cannot be destroyed by one president and one administration. The more unity Europe has on the basis of international rules, on the basis of our values, the more chance we will have to help the Americans return to that same path. Because we are linked – our destinies are linked – with the Americans’ because we share so many values.

In conclusion, I would also like to echo what the Prime Minister said on the nature of our unity. After 1945, our unity was built on a tripod of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. This tripod is indispensable if we want to maintain and strengthen our Union. You cannot use democracy against the rule of law, nor can you use the rule of law against democracy, nor can you use those against respect for human rights. This is, by the way, how it worked in times of dictatorship in Eastern Europe: when we would criticise democracy, they would say: ‘but our constitution describes it’. So they used their so-called rule of law (which was in fact rule by law) as justification for not having democracy. But you cannot do it the other way round either. You cannot say: ‘because I’ve got a majority, I can do with the rule of law whatever I like. I am the rule of law!’


If that is your position, you return to the rule by law, which is at fundamental odds with the nature of our Union.

I want warmly to thank the Prime Minister for now saying very clearly, on behalf of the Dutch Government, that, yes, the instruments of the Union are important: our common market (and we need to perfect it – a lot to do); our common currency (which is not perfect yet – a lot still to do); finding a budget for the European Union (which is not perfect yet; we made a proposal; I think it does comply with some of the criteria set out by the Prime Minister, but that’s all up for debate – we’ll get there). But all these things have no importance and no value if they are not founded on the basic values that brought Europeans together after such a long period of strife and dictatorship. Our freedom is founded on our values, not on our markets, not on our currency, but on the values we share.



  Presidente. – Ora procedo alla chiusura del sistema per la registrazione elettronica delle richieste per il "catch-the-eye".


   Leaders of Groups, please, it is important to respect your speaking time now, because one minute more for you is one minute less for your Group.



  Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, I wish to welcome the Prime Minister to the European Parliament. It is good to have him here.

After the G7 weekend – or should I call it the G6 weekend – I want to focus on External Affairs in my contribution today. Some would probably say that after Donald Trump, in three or seven years’ time, the old system of partnership with America will come back, but I don’t think so. I think we are at a historical moment, at a crossroads, and I think we have to decide in which direction we want to go as the European Union, as you also said in your contribution. The alternatives are clear: national egoism – that the European Union is a community of those who are dreamers of the past, of the empires of our history or whether we are a real global power as Europeans. The positive thing is that the decision is in our hands; we decide about our future.

The need is obvious. You mentioned MH17. I want to underline that you have the full support of my group and I think of the whole House, that we have to find the persons responsible and that Russia has to contribute to an independent investigation. But having this concrete point in mind, Prime Minister, the key question is: how do we come to conclusions in external affairs in the European Union because today, foreign affairs policy is – frankly  speaking – horse—trading in the European Union. A continent of 27 Member States with 500 million people can be blocked by only one country in this European Union and we are obviously weak in this regard. We have a friendship group of China inside the Council, we have a friendship group of Russia inside the Council, a friendship group of Iran in the European Council. You can buy countries at the moment to get influence in this European Union and you can block everything.


That is why you have to answer one concrete question. The Commission will come up with a proposal to use the Lisbon Treaty and change the unanimous decision—making process on external affairs, to switch to majority decision—making. If we don’t do so, we will be weak. If we do so, we will be strong. We need your answer on this concrete question.

Another aspect is our priorities for our external affairs activities. I think the Middle East is key; the EU is the biggest donor but with the least impact in the region. Can we use our humanitarian power to create peace in Syria, yes or no? And on Africa, which is probably the biggest priority for all of us, we have to take an open market approach. Trade is key for creating development in Africa and a Marshall Plan is needed. There I want to reflect on the MFF discussion. You spoke about the MFF, and first let me underline that I do not think it is fair when you talk about the proportional burden—sharing in the European Union, because the mechanism of financing the European Union is clearly linked to GDP: so 1% is 1%, 1.1% is 1.1% and 1.3% – which is the idea of the European Parliament – is 1.3%. So it is proportional in every way, so don’t tell the people that this is not proportional what we are doing here; the key question is whether we are ready to finance the strength of the European Union when we make new investments in the defence fund, when we make new investments on a Marshall Plan for Africa and when we want to have strong border control, with additional Frontex officers, then we have to finance this and you have to finance this.

I want to add, on the subject of external affairs, also some general ideas. We need a clear understanding about what is our role as Europeans in this global development. Today’s world – and Frans mentioned this – is dominated by ‘America first’; egoism against partnership. Our history was the same, the history of Europe: national egoism against partnership. Then we had a game—changer; we had the creation of the European Union as a game—changer – a way, a mechanism, to find solutions in a civilised way.

Having this in mind, dear friends, I think the European Union is probably a model for today’s world – being less than a nation and more than an international organisation, and a key to solving problems and avoiding conflicts, today’s European Union is probably the alternative to the Donald Trump approach.

Ladies and gentlemen, if we have this in mind, I think we also have to talk about the hard power of the European Union. We are talking about the military activities of our continent. We have done a lot with PESCO now in creating a headquarters. Please allow me on this aspect only to pick out one detail, because, Prime Minister, you talked about respecting agreements on a European level, so I want to ask you about the implementation of the PNR Agreement because this is also an important security aspect but it is not fully implemented in the Netherlands.

Coming back to military activities, I want to ask you what you think about creating common initiatives in this field. My group believes that in drones and in cyberwar, in new security challenges, we should from the beginning start with EU forces, with EU activities. In the long term, we have to work for a European army, but in the short term I think it would be much more cost efficient if we could do this together from the start.

Finally, if you allow, I want to say that the headline for our External Affairs Policy should be what Europe is all about. The European Union is a force for peace, is a power of peace. In Iran we showed that sanctions worked and the treaty works. It is better to have an agreement than to send troops. The same in North Korea. And even in Ukraine we told our friends that weapons will not create more peace. So Europe is a continent which stands on a global level for peace. That is a great image for the future.


  Udo Bullmann, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, a warm welcome to the Prime Minister from the Social Democrats in the House as well. We listened to your speech and I have to admit I like the general idea of talking about urgencies. I like the general idea of talking about leadership, and if I got it right – and I am one of those you will find on the site, I also liked your metaphors, go west, because this is very familiar to this House: we are permanently detecting new ‘territoires’, new areas of our work, we are building Europe each and any day from scratch, in a new mode towards a new direction – and if I got it right, you were also talking about John Wayne’s spirit, which I like as well.

But what do you think about the organisers of a trek to the west where the organisers say to the farmers: ‘well, the ‘territoire’ in front of you is dangerous, you will have bad weather, there is a multiplication on criminal gangs which you have to face, and to make you more efficient I provide you with less water, less food and less horses, and at the end of the day that makes you quicker, and you will with less resources get to the other side in a better way’. What do you think at the end of the day, how many of these farmers would have then ended up in California, and what do you think John Wayne would have said to the organisers, once the organisers would have tried to get him on board as a possible scout?

So I have questions to this narrative, and I don't think that this narrative is in itself convincing. So please explain your position on the European budget, because this is my metaphor on that.

I would also join forces with you and hope that we can have a joint initiative in making clear to Mr Tusk that Dublin reform and that the situation of the refugees in the Mediterranean has to be the top priority at the next summit – the top priority. And I would like to echo the interest of the European Parliament that nothing is postponed any more.

My question is: can you support this position in the best interests of those people who are in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean, in the best interests of the dignity of the European Union and, to make it very concrete – talking to the experts in the house, for instance to my colleague, Liberal colleague in 't Veld this morning – also in the concrete legislation? This moment we are discussing, the Coreper is discussing the Reception Directive – close to a compromise. The only potential deal-breaker I hear is the Council insisting on a by-principle detention of children. What would John Wayne have said to this question that you by principle have to organise the detention of children, to have a reception culture for foreigners and for migrants and for refugees? You could take the lead (talking about leadership immediately), ask one of your guys, of your colleagues, to phone up your ministers and your civil servants in the Coreper and clarify on that, so that we perhaps get a solution already today.


Again, talking about a joint spirit (John Wayne again, forgive me today but it was so close to my heart): what would he have said to the leaders of a country where he had to pay taxes for the coffee he buys, but those who sell the coffee do not need to pay taxes? It would have been potentially a dangerous conversation with him, because what would have been his position on tax havens and the defence of tax havens like you see in the Netherlands?


So it’s an interesting question.

Mein Schlusswort auf Deutsch. Man sagt ja zu Recht, dass wir uns gar nicht so unähnlich sind – was wir beide nicht so gerne hören, weder die Niederländer noch die Deutschen. Wir haben euch immer bewundert für die vielen Dinge, die Frans Timmermans aufgezählt hat. Wir geben es kaum zu: sogar beim Fußball, Fußball total. Es ist ja kaum einzugestehen, dass wir euch eigentlich sogar dabei gelegentlich bewundern.

Aber was ihr machen müsst – und das ist mein Appell als regionaler Nachbar –, Herr Premierminister: Bringen Sie die Niederländer, bringen Sie Ihren Staat, bringen Sie Ihre Gesellschaft in die erste Linie der Reform der Europäischen Union! Wir brauchen die Niederlande als einen Reformfaktor, einen aktiven Faktor, um die Zukunft Europas zu bauen gegen die Populisten, gegen diejenigen, die Europa kaputt machen wollen. Sind Sie in der ersten Linie, lassen Sie uns Klartext reden! Das entspricht beider Mentalitäten. Keine Ausreden mehr: Wir müssen es gemeinsam anpacken.


  Peter van Dalen, namens de ECR-Fractie. – Heel hartelijk welkom, meneer Rutte. We kunnen hier gewoon Nederlands spreken hoor. We hebben uitstekende tolken. Die hebben het nu wel een beetje moeilijk, maar betere tolken vind je niet.

In de Europese Unie is het Verenigd Koninkrijk altijd opgetreden als constructieve oppositie, als tegenmacht tegen de te vaak overheersende as Duitsland-Frankrijk.

In Berlijn heerst echter een oud trauma: men wil nimmer meer opnieuw dominant worden. Dus uiteindelijk bepaalt binnen die Duits-Franse as Parijs wat er gaat gebeuren. Dat betekent, zeker nu met Macron, nog meer Europa.

Door de exit van het Verenigd Koninkrijk valt in de Europese Unie het land weg dat op een nuchtere en constructieve manier tegenwicht bood.

Hoog tijd dus voor Europa 2.0: enter Mark Rutte! Als een van de langstzittende Europese regeringsleiders is hij dé aangewezen persoon om dat tegenwicht te organiseren. Ook het moment is van groot belang. We zijn op weg naar 2019: Europese verkiezingen, een nieuwe Commissie, onderhandelingen over de meerjarenbegroting, en natuurlijk de brexit. Europese politici als Macron, Juncker en Verhofstadt staan te trappelen om door te pakken. Dus nú is het moment voor Mark Rutte om tegenwicht te bieden, de scepter van de Engelsen over te nemen en die tegenmacht te organiseren.

Ruttes toespraak in Berlijn dit voorjaar vormt een hele goede basis voor dat tegenwicht. Dat geldt ook voor de samenwerking binnen de eurozone, waarbij hij met een aantal noordelijke landen en Oostenrijk probeert die eurozone op een nuchtere manier op te bouwen.

Geen Verenigde Staten van Europa dus, maar een nuchtere benadering. Een bescheiden en vooral dienstbaar Europa dat afspraken nakomt en verbindt. Dus ook een bescheiden begroting, geen eurozone die transferunie wordt, en een Europese Unie die Italië en Griekenland helpt met het migrantenvraagstuk.

Het is nú tijd voor zo'n Europese Unie. Mark Rutte moet aan de bak. Gebeurt dat niet, dan zal de kloof tussen de burger en Brussel, die nu al groot is, onhoudbaar worden.


  Guy Verhofstadt, namens de ALDE-Fractie. – Mijnheer de minister-president, beste Mark. Welkom in het Europees Parlement.

I have to tell you – I agree with you. The new world order needs a new Europe and it’s completely useless and unproductive to continue a discussion now, 20 years on, about less and more and more and less. What we need is not more or less – it’s new, it’s something else, it’s something different to the Europe we got in the past. I liked the word you used: a ‘more perfect’ Union, because a more perfect Union is a sentence in the American constitution, and in the American constitution, they are not talking about a bigger union or a smaller union – they’re talking about a more efficient union, a more united union, a more perfect union. It’s good to look to the past of the Netherlands, as Frans Timmermans has done, to see where we have to go because the Netherlands in my opinion, were robbed a little bit avant la lettre. There were seven independent provinces who worked together and beat the Spanish Armada, with a little bit of help from the Brits, but we have forgotten that, naturally, for the moment. The bad weather also helped them a lot. Afterwards, in 1602, Mark, what did you do? What the Netherlands did was unite the fleets, in one fleet, in one confederation, in one nation, establishing the Dutch Golden Age. That is the example that you have given to Europe, and what we have to do is to copy that by creating a European golden age in a certain way, a European golden age in a time where we are surrounded, I should say, by a circle of evil, and by that, I mean Putin. I mean Erdogan. I also mean, on a bad day – and that’s nearly every day – Mr Trump for the moment, for example, on trade matters.

We need a Europe that is also in solidarity with you, Mark, and with the Dutch people and the Dutch victims of MH17, and I ask the Commission, President Juncker and President Tusk to examine in what way in the international court case in The Hague we can be in full solidarity with the Dutch in that court case – because the Russians continuing to deny their responsibility is a scandal, and Europe has to be behind the Netherlands and far more outspoken on that issue.


But as we all know, Putin gets away with everything: the shooting down of flight MH17, the cyber—attacks against Baltic states, murders in the streets of London, killing of political opponents in Moscow, the illegal occupation of Ukraine and some regions in other Soviet republics. I think it’s time to wake up, particularly at a time when we have an American president who is more comfortable with autocrats than with his old Western democratic allies. That’s a wake-up call. That’s the inconvenient truth. The inconvenient truth is that if there were to be an attack by somebody on European soil tomorrow, we could not be sure that the Americans would help us. We need to take responsibility, we need to build up our own European defence community, and I agreed with Manfred Weber when he said we need to get rid of the unanimity rule in all these matters as soon as possible. It doesn’t make any sense to continue like that. Our problem is not only that we maybe have a different point of view on this issue. We have another problem, and it is that we have inside the European Union, inside the European family, a fifth column in our ranks. Let’s be honest – I call them the cheerleaders of Putin: Farage, Le Pen, Wilders and others. Their friends are sitting here and they are, in fact, doing only one thing: they take the money from the Kremlin, they take the intelligence of the Kremlin, like Mr Arron Banks, the friend of Mr Farage, who colluded and even contributed, with the help of the Russians, to creating Brexit. These people work together, in fact, with Mr Orban, but Mr Weber said nothing about Mr Orban today. I’m a little bit disappointed. It’s time that we stop this cooperation with people like Orban, Kaczyński and Salvini who are working with all these nationalists and populists.


I’m pleased that you talked about a Europe of values at the end of your speech and your introduction, as Macron did, as Bettel did, as Charles Michel did.

In fact, we as liberals can never accept the illiberal plot of these people, and we and you have to be at the forefront to fight against them. Thank you.



  President. – Thank you very much, Mr Verhofstadt. I want to thank you for this.


  Ska Keller, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I would like to thank Prime Minister Rutte for coming to join this debate and also for bringing in a sense of urgency; I very much appreciate that. Thank you also for your very clear words on the rule of law, on the bad situation that we see in several countries in the European Union. My question directly on that would be what exactly are you – what exactly are the Netherlands – going to do in Council to support the Article 7 procedure on Poland but also, when it goes beyond Poland, what exactly are you going to do?

I really appreciated your words as well about how unity works and how we all depend on each other because I think this is really true. We do depend on each other. If we work together well then we can all benefit from that, but if we work apart, then we will all lose out. You mentioned climate change as the obvious example of that, and I very much agree with that and I can only applaud the proposal you made on further reducing CO2 emissions to 55% in the European Union. This is a really good way forward because climate change is a threat to humanity and we need to act. We need to get our act together and we have to move first because if we don’t, no one else will do so.

But of course in order to achieve that, you will also have to talk with your colleagues and your neighbours. You will have to make sure you get a majority in Council because we in Parliament are not actually the problem – the others are the problem! – and the problem is the Council, so please go ahead, put some pressure on your colleagues to make sure that we get to that aim.

Talking about dependency, I would also like to mention the fact that we are very much dependent on each other in economic terms. The economy is, I understand, a very central point in how you view the European Union, and even how you view the world. You have said that everyone needs to put their house in order. I think that’s not the first time you have said that you; you have said that repeatedly. But putting your house in order doesn’t work if you say everyone puts their house in order and everyone does their thing and then all will be well. This is because we have a common market, we have a current common currency, we are all interlinked and our economies are interlinked, so if one wants to export, someone else needs to import. This is how it works. We are all interdependent on that, and if everyone has to save and save and save, then who’s going to drive demand?

You’ve been very critical again here today of others not getting their budget in order, but I would say one of the reasons other countries are not managing to put their budget in order is because of you – it’s your government and previous Dutch Governments which, by being a tax haven, through a long history of blocking and frustrating and delaying European action against tax avoidance.

(Applause from certain quarters)

With that you are taking away other countries’ income. Tax dodging by companies leads to costs of EUR 15 to 17 billion a year in the European Union. That’s money missing from our taxpayers. You have just agreed in the Netherlands – to please, apparently, multinationals like Unilever and Shell – to give a tax break to companies that will cost the Dutch taxpayers 1.6 billion a year. Out of the 20 largest companies in Portugal, 19 used Dutch letterboxes to avoid paying taxes in the midst of the economic crisis. So while Portugal was attacked for not saving enough, while in Portugal there were severe austerity measures, it was actually your country that helped companies avoid pay the taxes that would have helped Portugal.


So how do you expect Portugal to get its house in order, and why do you not cooperate with your colleagues in the Council instead of competing with them? Less tax competition would actually be more in this case!

Promoting the single market might sound very pro—European in the context that we are all getting used to, but just sticking to free trade, deregulation, liberalisation, that is the recipe for a status quo. We need to get to a social union – we should not forget that the European Union is not just a market, it is a place where people live, work, experience inequalities, have social insecurities – and that’s where we need to get. We need to get to a social union because if we’re not having more social union, if we’re not having more solidarity in the European Union, then we’re not getting anywhere. The European Union should be more social, should have more solidarity or it will have difficulties being.

(Loud applause)


  Dennis de Jong, namens de GUE/NGL-Fractie. – Dank u wel, Voorzitter, en een hartelijk welkom ook van Links Europa, mijn eigen fractie, aan de minister-president van Nederland, de heer Rutte. Zoals Peter van Dalen al zei: je kunt hier prima Nederlands praten. Dat komt doordat we hele goede tolken hebben. Die hebben het niet een beetje maar hartstikke moeilijk omdat hun arbeidsvoorwaarden verder worden uitgekleed en ze niet eens het recht op staken krijgen. Onze fractie is daar solidair mee en ik hoop dat steeds meer fracties zich uitspreken voor de rechten van de tolken.

Want dit staat wel voor iets breders. Als zelfs in dit Parlement – dat toch het huis van de democratie in Europa zou moeten zijn – de arbeidsvoorwaarden en arbeidsrechten van mensen niet meer worden nageleefd, als concurrentie en marktdenken het enige is wat telt, dan kom ik uit bij Mark Rutte. Want in uw toespraak in Berlijn en in uw toespraak hier staat eveneens de markt centraal. Zelfs als het gaat om veiligheid en de rechtsstaat, wil u in de eerste plaats bedrijven ruimte geven.

Ik denk dat dat de foute ingang is. Kijken we maar eens waar de markt goed voor is geweest: in Nederland beschikt 10 % van de bevolking over twee derde van het inkomen. De overige 90 % moet de rest verdelen. Op wereldvlak bezit 1 % de helft van het vermogen. De overige 99 % moet de rest verdelen. Dat is wat de markt doet, in Nederland, in Europa en in de hele wereld. Daarover moeten we het hebben. Wat doet u voor die 90 %? Ook de Groenen zeiden het al. Waar is de sociale kant? Hoe zit het met eerlijkheid?

Belastingen spelen daarin een rol. We zien dat kinderen op dit moment minder kansen hebben dan hun ouders hadden, dat het toekomstbeeld voor mensen minder goed is. Dat zijn de dingen die we moeten aanpakken. Gelijk loon voor gelijk werk, zei u in Berlijn. U hebt dat nu niet herhaald, maar dat is een reëel probleem. We hebben weliswaar stappen vooruitgezet met gedetacheerden, maar nog steeds gelden voor hen de sociale premies en pensioenen van het land van herkomst. Dus er is niet echt gelijk loon voor gelijk werk. Deze week en bij de vorige Straatsburgzitting stonden hier vrachtwagen- en buschauffeurs voor de deur. Internationaal wegtransport heeft geen gelijk loon voor gelijk werk. Wat doet u voor die 90 %? Wat doet u voor hen?

En dan de culturele kant van de zaak. We hebben niks tegen ondernemingsgeest. Dat is goed. Maar waar we wel wat tegen hebben, is het tegen elkaar uitspelen van mensen. Wat doen we om mensen te verbinden? Gaan we naar een samenleving (zij het dan een rechtsstaat) waar iedereen tegen elkaar wordt opgezet? Of komen we bij een samenleving die verbindt? Gaan we verder dan het marktdenken?

Er wordt hier regelmatig verwezen naar Trump. Maar waar heeft die zijn populariteit aan te danken? Die heeft hij te danken aan de staalarbeiders in Detroit, die zich alleen gelaten voelen en vinden dat ze het slachtoffer van de globalisering zijn. Daar heeft ook de Commissie op gewezen. Als je dat niet aanpakt, dan krijg je het tegenovergestelde van wat waarschijnlijk ook u wil. Dan krijg je mensen die tegen elkaar opkomen. Dan krijg je onveiligheid. En daar komen we niet verder mee.

Nog één opmerking over die 1 %. U zit bij die één procent. Dat zijn ook de grote investeerders. Dat zijn de grote multinationals. Ik zou u willen aanraden eens te kijken naar Investigate Europe. Dat is een ngo die in beeld gebracht heeft wat BlackRock als investeringsmaatschappij voorstelt. BlackRock beheert 6,3 biljoen US-dollar. Op dit moment zet Blackrock de aanval in op de collectieve pensioenen in Europa. We moeten allemaal individuele pensioenen hebben. Daar kan BlackRock lekker op verdienen. Daarom wil het ook een pan-Europees pensioenproduct dat je per persoon onderschrijft. Dat gaat de verkeerde kant op. Ik wil een solidair Europa. En ik wil graag uw visie op een solidair Europa horen.

Ik doe één voorstel: als we die markt nou eens reguleren? Laten we aan het Europees verdrag een sociaal en groen protocol hechten. De vakbeweging heeft dat jaren geleden al voorgesteld voor het sociale aspect. Aangezien u nu Groen Rechts bent, wil u waarschijnlijk wel instemmen met de aanhechting van een groen protocol. Laten we dus alles toetsen op solidariteit en duurzaamheid en de markt beteugelen. Zou dat niet leiden tot een Europa dat echt verbindt, dat echt stabiel is en waarmee we voorkomen dat we hier straks ook met een Trump zitten?


  Gerard Batten, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Mr President, Mr Rutte, you spoke about listening to the people, but in Holland, of course, in 2005 you had a referendum on the constitution. That was ignored. We got the Lisbon Treaty, which was the Constitution in another form, in 2016. The Dutch voted against the Ukrainian Association Agreement, and that has been ignored. The EU rule is to pay and obey, so if you can change that, then good luck to you.

Now, Europe can have a great and prosperous future, but not if the European Union is planning it. The European Union is responsible for many of the problems that beset Europe, and your solution is always the same: to have more power. The European Union was always about creating an undemocratic state – a ‘united states of Europe’ – and it has always been about deconstructing nation states and transferring political power to Brussels. That would be bad enough in itself, but you have actually made a complete mess of governing the Member States.

There are two areas in which this is obvious to the ordinary citizen: the economy and security. The creation of the euro was a political project, not an economic project, and was an entirely predictable disaster and has brought about financial austerity and unemployment. The dead hand of European bureaucracy impedes business and makes it increasingly harder for small businesses to operate, to create new jobs and to grow prosperities. Your policies have blighted the lives of millions of people.

Meanwhile, our security is endangered because of the results of mass immigration. Under Mrs Merkel’s leadership you have brought in millions of people from Africa, the Middle East and beyond, and you intend to bring in millions more. You have turned many parts of Europe into foreign countries. You use the emotional blackmail argument of talking about helping defenceless refugee families, and yet the reality is that the vast majority of these migrants are young men from Islamic countries. This is not immigration, this is invasion.

(Shouted comments from the floor)

Traditionally, Europe resisted Islamic invasion. Heroic struggles in the Siege of Malta, at the Gates of Vienna, have now been replaced by abject surrender. Islam offers two options: submit or resist.

(Interjection from the floor: ‘Rubbish’)

You have decided to surrender and submit on behalf of your citizens. But some states are resisting. Rebellion is now stirring in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and elsewhere. The tide is turning against the EU, and best of all, we have Brexit: a modern Peasants’ Revolt against their out-of-touch overlords. When Britain leaves the European Union, we can point the way for a Europe of independent democratic nation states. Most people want a Europe of genuine trade, friendship and cooperation. They do not want rule from Brussels.

(Mixed reactions from the floor)


  Presidente. – Ricordo al pubblico presente in quest'Aula che non è consentito a coloro che assistono al dibattito applaudire o dissentire nei confronti degli oratori.


  Marcel de Graaff, on behalf of the ENF Group. – Mr President, I welcome Mr Rutte to this Parliament. I guess we will see him quite often in the future when he has accepted the position of Mr Tusk as President of the European Council.

When we discuss the future of the EU, we most certainly must address the situation of the rule of law in the Member States. The majority of this Parliament has serious concerns about the rule of law in Hungary, Poland, Malta and Slovakia. Therefore it has started the monitoring group on the rule of law. Your party is a member of the ALDE Group, and a colleague of yours in this Parliament, Ms in’t Veld, presides over this monitoring group.

I advise this monitoring group to take the Netherlands as a reference case. In the Netherlands, the prosecution doesn’t have the obligation to follow up on any reported offence. It is at the discretion of the Prosecutor’s Office whether to take action. Therefore, millions of citizens in the Netherlands see prosecution as a political tool. This was recently confirmed in a report by WODC, a scientific institution that advises the Dutch Government. The report stated that over the last decade there has been no prosecution of extreme—left violence.

I will give you another example. Last month, a group of rejected asylum seekers looking for a place to stay broke into a house near Amsterdam, claimed the property as theirs and tried to chase away the inhabitants. Although this attempt failed, the state prosecution didn’t want to take legal action, and they allowed this behaviour. To me it’s absolutely clear that applying the law to one group and letting another off the hook creates legal inequality. It breaks the rule of law. These are the Netherlands of Mr Rutte and Ms in’t Veld of today.

I have some serious advice for Mr Rutte with regard to his European ambitions. If you want an EU where the rule of law applies, start at home. And I quote: ‘get your house in order’, and have the prosecution take action against illegal activities in general, not just against so-called populists.

A second issue I would like to address is illegal migration. The EU is in a complete deadlock on how to deal with illegal migrants. The EU has no solutions. It doesn’t close its borders; it doesn’t expel rejected asylum seekers; it doesn’t fight Islamisation and radicalisation. So I urge Mr Rutte to distance himself from Ms Merkel’s ‘refugees welcome’ policies and endorse the Visegrad approach.

He could start by making it a criminal offence to help illegal migrants, rejecting asylum to migrants who enter via safe third countries, and making asylum seekers who go on holiday in their home country lose their right to stay. When you are President of the European Council, recommend the whole package that we proposed yesterday to the Member States.



  Diane James (NI). – Mr President, good morning, Prime Minister, and thank you for coming to the Chamber and for taking questions. I’ve got three for you, sir.

The first one concerns trade. You’ve made the point that the Dutch economy depends on trade with the United Kingdom as a result of the Rotterdam effect. I do appreciate the point you made about the Single Market and why, therefore, you would want the United Kingdom to remain part of that, but you’ve also effectively admitted the issue of punitive tariffs post-Brexit making no economic sense for your own country. Can we ask, therefore, that you champion not only support for a free—trade deal for the United Kingdom post-Brexit, but that you also champion free trade change within the remaining European Union Member States?

My second question: you raise the issue of rule of law and electoral process. You, I hope, will be aware of billionaire George Soros, a fifth columnist, to use a phrase used this morning, interfering in a democratic referendum result on Brexit in the United Kingdom. Can I ask, how would you deal with that sort of political interference and how will you try and influence European Union policy to stop that degree of national affront to democracy and affront to national democratic process?


  Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. – Mr President, I'll continue in English if that is okay, but of course with all respect for the interpreters. First of all, to the First Vice-President of the European Commission, thank you very much for your gracious remarks, dear Frans. You made this point regarding moral hazard. That was exactly right, since there is a lack of trust which crept into the European Union over the last ten years because of moral hazard. I was very happy that you made this point and we have to work on that.

You also made a point regarding migration, and other speakers in this first round also made a point on migration. It is also crucial to come to an agreement at European Council level. We are very much pushing to make that happen at the European Council at the end of this month. But it is not easy, since, at the moment, there are still a lot of debates going on between the North and the South, as well as with the countries in the East. Regarding this whole notion of solidarity, of burden sharing, and of making sure that everyone is involved and that we find an acceptable compromise, I’m not very optimistic at the moment that we will reach conclusions at the end of June. We need your help there, and the European Parliament can push for this. Mr Bullmann also made this point in response to you on this issue.

On the situation with the United States, this was also a point made by Mr Weber, Guy Verhofstadt and others. I was always raised with the absolute conviction that the transatlantic bonds between Europe and the United States – anchored not only in a joint security imperative, in the fact that we share values across the Atlantic Ocean, and that we share the same type of history – make it crucial that together we keep working on the transatlantic bonds. It is not easy, but I cannot foresee us resolving any major crisis in the world without the United States. For our defence, it is crucial to keep the dialogue with the United States going, even if within that family relationship we have some serious quarrels at the moment.

And, yes, Frans, you can count on the Netherlands where rule of law is concerned. I know that you personally, within the Commission, are working very hard on this.

Ms Keller you made a point about Article 7. Let me assure you that the Netherlands and my government are squarely behind Frans Timmermans and the entire European Commission on this issue. There can be no doubt, and I am happy that I know that the whole Commission is behind it.

Mr Weber, on the issue of the Multiannual Financial Framework: yes, I agree that we have new priorities which we need to address. But at the same time – and this is also a point I would like to make to Mr Bullmann – we have to acknowledge that 70 % of the European budget at the moment is spent on the priorities of yesterday. Why not think about what we can do in terms of making savings there to free money up for new priorities?

Mr Bullmann, you made this analogy again with John Wayne. However, when John Wayne and his people were back in those days when that story played out, when the United States was working on pushing its frontiers westwards, there was no government to help them. There was no central system. It was the farmers themselves, making sure that, by putting their wagons in a circle, they could create safety.

Luckily, at the moment we have governments and we have collective security. Absolutely, we need to work with our members, but considering this budget and what you need to do, we cannot just discuss new money; we also have to look at where we can find the money. I am simply against the 1.3 %. If you really want to make the parties at the extremes much bigger than they are today, keep on pushing for 1.3 %. It’s the best recipe.

On PNR, I completely agree with Mr Weber. The legislation to implement PNR has been submitted to our Parliament and is being discussed in our House. We have already set up our national organisation and notified the Commission. It is not yet through Parliament, but we are working on that. At the moment, I believe that 14 countries have implemented this legislation. Half still have to come, and we are in the second half and working on that.

On the military side, military mobility is one of the things the Netherlands is pushing at the moment within NATO and within the EU. We are very much behind the initiatives President Macron is making to get a more effective basis to organise defence within the European Union. At the same time, I would argue that we should not now push for new symbols like a European Army. These are symbols. We have to make sure that we get things done in practice and that we get, in that sense, a satisfactory result for our citizens. I am not in favour of these symbols like the European army. I am very much in favour of working in the next five to ten years on practical things like, for example, military mobility. I know that I can count on your Group on this important priority.

On the issue of taxation, we acknowledge the importance of combating tax avoidance, both for the Netherlands and at the EU level. Taxation is an important issue in this House, but particularly in the parliaments of the Member States. Taxation is a key element of the political systems in our democracies, and in the Treaty they are therefore part – and I believe rightly so – of the Member States’ competencies. We are working at this moment on letterboxes and how to make sure that we take the necessary next steps in that regard. I was very happy to see that Commissioner Moscovici was very appreciative of the Dutch initiative in that regard. This is also in reaction to Ms Keller and Mr Bullmann.

It was Mr Peter van Dalen and Mr Udo Bullmann raising the issue of reform, and whether the Netherlands are pushing reform within the EU. Yes we are. We are pushing for radical reform. Yes, we are working on new alliances within the EU. The fact that the UK is leaving means that we in the Netherlands, which is the fifth—largest economy in the European Union, have to work on how we are going to organise our relationships with other countries.

Of course, our relationships with Germany and France will always be crucial. When I listened to President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in the Sorbonne last September, I agreed with most of the points he made there. We have agreed to work together on issues like migration, the G5 Sahel, external borders, and in particular on climate change and pushing for this 55 % CO2 emissions target.

At the same time, we are working with other countries to find a balance within the EU to make sure – with the UK leaving and therefore the power balance shifting – that we in the Netherlands also try to work on new alliances. Yes, indeed we are working closely together not only with the Baltic States and the Scandinavian countries, but also with Austria, Ireland, and Spain, as well as with Portugal on other issues; it can be bilateral, it can be multilateral. Within the EU, that helps to achieve sensible decision—making.

Therefore, it is much more nuanced, in response to Mr van Dalen, than saying it is a counterbalance to France and Germany. The moments they agree on a policy are very scarce. Sometimes it is good that they can agree on issues, because they are the two biggest Member States, but there is no automaticity that when they agree, things are pushed forward, and it is not an automaticity that they agree. In many cases, as we all know, they very much disagree, and that also helps the debate in those areas.

Ms Keller, you also have to do something. Yes, I have to work; I agree. The Dutch Government, together with France, has to work on this support for the 55%. But please don’t leave it to me. You have this big House here. We had the applause, so please help. We have to do this collectively. That’s exactly the plea I was making in my speech. I need the European Parliament, because without your pressure – including in your Member States – to push for that emissions target, we will never get there.

Mr de Jong, of course we disagree on many issues, not on the Dutch language, but on many other issues. But still, I would argue that you were bashing the free market. Thanks to the free market, hundreds of millions of people in the last ten to fifteen years have been lifted out of poverty worldwide. Thanks to the free market, let’s not forget that.


On one thing we fully agree. I did not mention it in my speech, but the same pay for the same work in the same type of circumstances is at the core of the belief of the Dutch Government, and we will push for that. I know that collectively we are working to make that happen, including in the transportation sector.

Mr Batten, you addressed Brexit. I would like to remind you that the Governor of the Bank of England has calculated that the cost of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union is already GBP 900 per average British family. That is the cost that British families are already paying, and that will rise.

(Mixed heckling and applause from the floor)

Maybe not for you personally, but this is happening at the moment. What I found in the Netherlands is that this fact, as well as the fact that it is hurting our collective security, is the best argument why the others need to work more closely together. So in that sense, thank you for that, but I am still very sombre and pessimistic about the fact that you are leaving the European Union.

Finally, Ms James, on Brexit: let me assure you that the Dutch Government is squarely behind Michel Barnier and what he is doing as our negotiator in this process. Can you help to make sure that we get more clarity from the British side as soon as possible, particularly on the issue of the Irish border? I believe that it is crucial to move and push that subject, which is important for all of us, forward.



Procedura "catch the eye"


  Esther de Lange (PPE). – Dank u wel, voorzitter. Meneer de minister-president, u hebt gezegd: de EU moet minder beloven en meer waarmaken. Daar ben ik het mee eens. Maar laten we het concreet maken. Een groot aantal voorstellen van dit Parlement zijn door de Commissie behandeld maar zitten nog vast in de Raad. Ik wil even terugkomen op het gebied van migratie. U zei: het is moeilijk, ik ben niet optimistisch. Maar denkt u eens een stukje mee. Angela Merkel heeft gesproken over flexibele solidariteit als oplossing voor dit probleem. Je moet toch komen tot een migratiebeleid met alle landen, dat begint in de landen van herkomst, dat een sterkere grensbescherming inhoudt en dat een land niet alleen laat op het moment dat er vele vluchtelingen komen. In mijn kantoor hangt een spreuk in het Fries, toch onze andere landstaal. Ik zal u het Fries besparen, maar in het Nederlands komt die hierop neer: als het niet kan zoals het moet, dan moet het maar zoals het kan. Ik denk dat dat nu speelt in de discussie over migratie. Angela Merkel noemt dat flexibele solidariteit. Denkt u eens mee. Hoe zou die eruit kunnen zien?

Ik wil nog twee andere punten aanstippen. Wat nationale parlementen betreft, ben ik het eens met uw pleidooi. We kunnen hele ingewikkelde constructies gaan verzinnen om die meer te betrekken. Maar laten we eens beginnen met de documenten in de Raad, die vaak onnodig als geheim bestempeld worden, waardoor nationale parlementen hun werk niet kunnen doen en wij ook minder. Dit parlement is open en transparant. Helpt u ons mee om ook de Raad open en transparant te maken.

Ten slotte kom ik bij mijn laatste pleidooi. U sprak terecht over een eerlijke interne markt, of over het vervolmaken van de interne markt, ook op digitaal gebied. Hoe zorgen we dat we die digitale interne markt ook eerlijk maken? En ja, daar hoort misschien ook een discussie over digitale belasting bij. Dank u wel.


  Agnes Jongerius (S&D). – Dank u wel, Voorzitter. Dank u, minister-president, dat u hier bent. Ik heb geluisterd naar een toespraak die volgens sommigen die van een bekeerling was. Maar mag ik u vragen u ook nog op een ander punt te bekeren? Want als we onderwerpen noemen waar het 'beter' of 'meer' kan, dan verwacht ik dat op dat lijstje ook sociaal Europa staat.

U was erbij op de top in Göteborg. U was erbij toen aan de burgers van Europa beloofd werd dat Europa ook in sociaal opzicht AAA zou worden. Ik ben blij dat u steunt dat chauffeurs onder 'gelijk loon voor gelijk werk' moeten komen te vallen. Maar mag ik u, als aanvoerder van de 'zeven zuinige dwergen', ook zien als aanvoerder van de Sociale Alliantie onder de regeringsleiders? En mag ik uw steun voor voorstellen als een Europese arbeidsautoriteit en een evenwicht tussen werk en privéleven?


  Amjad Bashir (ECR). – Mr President, I would like to thank the Prime Minister very much for addressing us today. I have a couple of quick questions. The first is about the migration crisis. Would you agree with me that, in order to address the migration problem, we need to get to the root causes, and that is the failed states – many of which we’ve interfered in – like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? Would you not say that we need to trade with these nations so that they can find themselves in a better place to help their citizens to remain where they are?

The second question is on human rights and the fact that economic power is going to the East, to China and India. These countries believe that economic development will, in the end, see that human rights are respected. Would you not agree, at a time when, in Myanmar, millions of people have had to seek refuge in neighbouring countries where ethnic cleansing and genocide is taking place, that we in Europe have to say that this is unacceptable and that human rights values have to be respected?


  Johannes Cornelis van Baalen (ALDE). – Voorzitter, het is een eer hier te spreken nadat de heer Rutte zijn pleidooi heeft gehouden. Als wij willen luisteren naar de geschiedenis, kijk ik niet alleen naar de 'Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Provinciën', waarbij de provinciën hun soevereiniteit gingen delen. Een ander voorbeeld is het Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden van 1815—1830, waar wij in het noorden te weinig respect opbrachten voor onze landgenoten in het zuiden, zowel op religieus gebied als ook op ander gebied. Daardoor is dat project gefaald.

Kijken we nu naar de Europese Unie, dan moeten wij in het westen respect hebben voor onze collega's in het oosten en het zuiden en omgekeerd. In dit halfrond moeten wij van links tot rechts zonder boegeroep met elkaar debatteren. De parlementaire dimensie die de premier heeft genoemd, namelijk het Europees Parlement en de samenwerking met de nationale parlementen, is vitaal. Want zonder parlementaire dimensie is er geen draagvlak. Zonder draagvlak en met bestuurlijke arrogantie bouw je geen Europa. Dus we moeten samen voortgaan.


  Presidente. – La parola all'on. Turmes. Lo saluto perché credo sia il suo ultimo intervento in quest'Aula, avendo assunto responsabilità di governo nel suo paese, e gli formulo i migliori auguri a nome di tutti quanti noi di buon lavoro in Lussemburgo.


  Claude Turmes (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, thank you very much. Yes, I am leaving for the Luxembourgish Government. When Guy Verhofstadt says that we need a new golden age, I think he is right, but I think the golden age for a lot of Europeans was before Margaret Thatcher and neoliberalism. It was also before ten years of – I think for a lot of Europeans – brutal austerity politics. It was surely also before this kind of tax competition.

So when I go back to Luxembourg next week, Mr Rutte, I think I have the same job to do in my government as you. I do not think we can leave taxation policy in unanimity. We need at least to take energy and environment taxation out of unanimity, as well as corporate taxation and probably also taxation for the very wealthy, because otherwise we are undermining solidarity in Europe.

Colleagues, if you want to give me a big gift, we can build on your 55% climate. Today and next week we will be finalising, hopefully, the efficiency legislation, the renewables legislation and the energy and climate framework legislation. So what should be the target for 2030? 33, 33, 55: isn’t that a good rhetoric? So that’s where we have to get today and then, in addition, we need a vision. Society needs a vision, and this vision is net zero in 2050, and that is, hopefully, also where you can help me next week when we close it. Thanks a lot for these almost two decades of working together.



  Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL). – Dank u wel, Voorzitter. Minister-president, vanmorgen zei u "minder beloven en meer waarmaken". Vervolgens zegt u dat de uitstoot van broeikasgassen niet met 30 % maar met 55 % zou moeten worden teruggedrongen.

Ik denk dat dat heel goed is. Alle lof en hulde daarvoor. Maar onze afhankelijkheid van aardgas zorgt niet alleen voor wekelijkse aardbevingen in Groningen. Ze brengt ook de doelstellingen van het klimaatakkoord geen stap dichterbij.

Tegelijkertijd haalt Nederland veel van de ontwikkelingsdoelen van de Verenigde Naties niet. We hebben te veel armoede en te weinig hernieuwbare energie. Slechts een klein aandeel van de landbouw is biologisch. En de uitstoot van broeikasgassen is veel hoger dan die van onze Europese collega's.

Uw kabinet doet bitter weinig om dat aan te pakken. Onlangs drukte u er bij de Commissie nog een mestderogatie door. Voorzitter, onze bio-industrie brengt biologische en andere boeren in de verdrukking, houdt dierenleed en ernstige milieuvervuiling in stand en is funest voor het klimaat.

Graag hoor ik van de premier hoe hij ervoor gaat zorgen dat Nederland niet het vieste jongetje van de Europese klas blijft.


  President. – We need to respect speaking time because more time means fewer Members of Parliament can speak.


  Piernicola Pedicini (EFDD). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, grazie Primo ministro per essere qui. Lei viene dal nord Europa e io vengo dal sud Europa e dalle nostre parti si dice che "il sazio non capisce il digiuno". Oggi siamo qui a chiederci, ancora una volta, quale futuro per questa Unione europea.

Ma quale futuro ci può essere se permettiamo ancora una volta di importare olio tunisino senza dazi nel nostro territorio, facendo concorrenza sleale alle nostre imprese olivicole? Quale futuro ci può essere se importiamo il grano canadese trattato con il glifosato che, oltre a essere cancerogeno, distrugge anche le nostre piccole e medie imprese che producono il grano duro che serve per la pasta?

E quale futuro ci può essere se avete avuto il coraggio di lasciare sola l'Italia per dieci anni, di fronte alla crisi migratoria? Adesso avete il coraggio di chiudere le vostre frontiere e avete ancora il coraggio di dire che l'Italia e il governo italiano è xenofobo.

E lei, collega João Rodrigues che è qui davanti a me, come si permette di offendere il governo italiano e 17 milioni di cittadini italiani che l'hanno votato? Allora, se questa è l'Unione che voi volete, non c'è nessun futuro per questa Unione.


  Λάμπρος Φουντούλης (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε Πρωθυπουργέ, οι ηγέτες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ενώσεως δηλώνουν σε κάθε ευκαιρία πως ένας από τους σημαντικότερους στόχους της είναι η συναδέλφωση των λαών και η εγκατάλειψη κάθε εχθρότητας που οδήγησε στο παρελθόν σε συγκρούσεις. Επιπλέον, μιας και το αντικείμενο της συζήτησης είναι το μέλλον της Ευρώπης, ένα σημαντικό τμήμα αυτού του μέλλοντος είναι και η περίφημη διεύρυνση με την ένταξη των χωρών των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων.

Δυστυχώς όμως ακόμη και μετά από όλα όσα έχουν συμβεί τα τελευταία χρόνια στην Ευρώπη, αδυνατούν να κατανοήσουν οι ηγέτες της Γερμανίας και των δορυφόρων της πως, εκμεταλλευόμενοι την ύπαρξη μιας αριστερής προδοτικής κυβερνήσεως στην Ελλάδα και προσπαθώντας να επιβάλουν μια λύση στο θέμα της ονομασίας των Σκοπίων, όχι απλά δεν προωθούν τη διεύρυνση, αλλά δημιουργούν εύλογα στη συντριπτική πλειοψηφία των Ελλήνων το συναίσθημα πως η Ευρώπη υιοθετεί ξεκάθαρα ανθελληνικές θέσεις για να εξυπηρετήσει τα συμφέροντά της.

Είμαι βέβαιος πως η συμφωνία για την ονομασία των Σκοπίων θα καταρρεύσει μαζί με την κατάρρευση της κυβέρνησης του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, καθότι δεν εκφράζει πλέον τη βούληση της πλειοψηφίας του ελληνικού λαού. Τα Σκόπια δεν θα ενταχθούν στην Ένωση! Πρέπει πλέον να αναλογιστούμε όλοι οι Έλληνες εάν θέλουμε να συνεχίσουμε να ανήκουμε σε έναν εχθρικό για την πατρίδα μας Οργανισμό.


  Elmar Brok (PPE). – Herr Präsident! Herr Ministerpräsident, ich bedanke mich sehr für Ihre Rede, die deutlich gemacht hat, dass Sie eine realistische, seriöse, aber auch zukunftsgerichtete Europapolitik betreiben wollen. Und ich glaube, dass das in guten Strukturen ist und dass es weitblickend ist, auch aufgrund der internationalen Situation, in der wir jetzt stehen. Aber dafür müssen Sie der Europäischen Union auch die notwendigen Instrumente geben. Ihre Haltung in den Haushaltsfragen steht im Widerspruch zu den richtigen politischen Zielen, die Sie zum Ausdruck gebracht haben. Ich bitte Sie, diesen Widerspruch aufzulösen.

Wenn wir gegenwärtig auch die Migrationsfrage diskutieren, wenn wir endlich einen wirkungsvollen Außengrenzschutz durchführen wollen, dann muss dafür das Geld zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Man kann nicht sagen: „Europa muss die Frage lösen“, und anschließend gibt man nicht das Geld dafür, anschließend gibt man nicht die Entscheidungsmechanismen dafür. Auf diese Art und Weise ist Europa in den Augen der Öffentlichkeit wieder schuld daran, dass es nicht vorangeht. Aber in Wirklichkeit haben die Nationalstaaten durch die Verweigerung der Instrumente eine Lösung unmöglich gemacht. Ich bitte um Ihre Stellungnahme dazu.


  Salvatore Cicu (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, io credo che il populismo cresca nel momento in cui l'Unione europea non riesce a dare risposte concrete ai temi appunto dell'immigrazione, ai temi del lavoro, ai temi della diseguaglianza e della povertà. Credo che la posizione del governo italiano, che deve essere rispettata, è una sfida. È una sfida proprio alla concretezza e all'efficacia della risposta. Quindi io credo che non bisogni più tergiversare rispetto agli egoismi e ai pregiudizi, alla necessita cioè che la posizione del Parlamento europeo nel prossimo Consiglio venga assunta come una posizione da condividere, perché noi non possiamo più aspettare.

Oggi sono arrivati altri mille migranti nel porto di Catania e l'Italia sta facendo la sua parte rispetto a questa situazione, però non è più tollerabile che i paesi del Sud vengano lasciati soli. Allora, occorre una redistribuzione, occorrono regole precise, occorre che ciascuno faccia la sua parte, perché se l'Europa vuole esistere, credo che questo sia il momento di dimostrarlo.


  Paul Tang (S&D). – Dank u wel, Voorzitter, en welkom aan de minister-president. De vraag is inderdaad: aan wie laten we de toekomst over? Aan Donald Trump, Vladimir Poetin, de techgiganten Google en Facebook, of oliemaatschappijen als Shell? Nee, zonder Europa geen toekomst van waarden. Europa zal de rug moeten rechten. Ik ben blij met de urgentie waarmee de minister-president hier vandaag heeft gestaan. Mijn complimenten daarvoor.

Maar er is wel werk aan de winkel. Waarom neemt het Nederlandse kabinet niet het voortouw bij het veranderen van de euro en lijkt het niks te willen veranderen? Wat is uw handtekening waard als u zegt dat de sociale pijler niet eens in uw boekenkast terechtkomt? En waarom wil het Nederlandse kabinet de winstbelasting niet hervormen? Want u kunt niet als het Zeeuwse meisje klagen over de Europese begroting en tegelijkertijd Nederland als een belastingpiraat laten optreden en winstbelasting stelen van andere landen. Meer dan 14 miljard euro kost Nederland de andere Europese lidstaten. Wees dus niet John Wayne die zichzelf in de voet schiet. Wees ook een partner. Er is werk aan de winkel voor het Nederlandse kabinet.


  Charles Tannock (ECR). – Mr President, Prime Minister Rutte, you have made a strong case for the role of the EU in external security and foreign policy matters, and you rightly cited Russian expansionism as an example where we work better together in preventing it. But to me, Brexit is a destructive and selfish act, but at least Prime Minister May has requested that the UK and the EU have a very special and deep partnership in terms of external security and defence matters post-Brexit.

But as a third country, the UK’s role, for instance with PESCO or over Justice and Home Affairs matters, will be very limited. Recently, for instance, the Commission refused to allow the UK to participate in the Galileo project. So how do you envisage keeping the UK, a P5 member and a nuclear power with serious armed forces, fully plugged in and actively engaged with the EU security and defence structures post-Brexit?


  Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE). – Voorzitter. Welkom, meneer Rutte! Het is een genoegen u hier in het hart van de Europese democratie warme woorden te horen spreken over Europa. In de wereld van Trump, Kim Jong—un, brexit en vluchtelingenstromen, Facebook en klimaatverandering biedt Europa ons bescherming.

U sprak bevlogen over de eenheid van Europa, maar tegelijkertijd ook over de Europese Unie als minimale technocratische samenwerking. Daar zit licht tussen, meneer Rutte. Natiestaten waren het antwoord op de uitdagingen van de 19e eeuw. Europese eenwording is het antwoord op de realiteit van de 21e eeuw. Want Europa heeft nu geen boekhouders nodig, maar leiderschap. Leiders die zich durven uitspreken voor een krachtig politiek Europa.

Bent u die leider, meneer Rutte? Maakt u, samen met Macron en Merkel, het pro-Europese, progressieve midden sterker? Ik ben in elk geval verheugd dat u inmiddels het idee van een eurozonebegroting omarmt. Meebuigen met populisme heeft het midden uitgehold. Maar een zwak Europa kunnen we ons niet permitteren. In 2019 vinden Europese verkiezingen plaats. D66 staat voor een sterk en solidair Europa. Meneer Rutte, vinden wij u aan onze zijde?


  Helga Trüpel (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, Prime Minister, I agree with your sentiments that the European Union has to be a more perfect union. What does it mean, more perfect? From my point of view, it means we need a more common political interest all over the European Union in being stronger. We have to be more responsible, more ecological, more social, more effective, and we need a common asylum system in order to be better in all these questions of refugees and migrants. There we can do better. That would be a more – and better – perfect union.

And with that, I come to the MFF. I was very disappointed when I read in the newspaper that you, Prime Minister, said: oh, we have Brexit, the UK will be leaving; we will be a smaller union, so we will have a smaller budget. No, that is not true, because we have bigger challenges; we want to be more responsible; we want to perform well on the global stage. Therefore, we have to answer the question: where does the money come from? It must come, to a large extent, from new own resources and, in particular, environmental taxes and a digital tax. Be ready to make the new tech giants pay to the national and the European budget. That would be a wonderful solution and European citizens would profit from that.


  Peter Lundgren (EFDD). – Herr talman! Välkommen hit, premiärminister Rutte. Det är nu väldigt många medborgare runt om i Europa som ser hur EU har blivit allt mer maktfullkomligt och allt mindre kapabelt att lösa stora problem, och alla vi som påpekar detta faktum stämplas som populister och möts med många andra tillmälen enbart för att vi påpekar detta faktum.

Den enda lösningen man har från EU:s sida är ju ständigt ökande budgetar och avgifter. Nederländerna betalar redan, precis som Sverige, mycket mer än man får tillbaka och har gjort så i många år. Nu föreslår Angela Merkel att alla nettobetalare ska betala ännu mer. Hur ska Nederländerna med sina 26 ledamöter mot Tysklands 96 ledamöter kunna stoppa det här? Ert folk kommer att få betala detta bland annat genom höjd pensionsålder i framtiden. Är det här vad det nederländska folket önskar, för det är deras talan ni för som premiärminister här i dag.


  Γεώργιος Επιτήδειος (NI). – Κύριε Πρωθυπουργέ, ως γνωστόν η Τουρκία προωθεί κατά εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες τους παράνομους μετανάστες στα ελληνικά νησιά. Παράλληλα, απειλεί την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση ότι, αν δεν ικανοποιήσει τις παράλογες απαιτήσεις της, θα πλημμυρίσει την Ευρώπη με παράνομους μετανάστες. Πρόσφατα κατήγγειλε τη συμφωνία με την Ελλάδα για επαναφορά όσων λαθρομεταναστών δεν πληρούν τις προϋποθέσεις για χορήγηση ασύλου.

Συμφωνείτε ότι η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση πρέπει να σκληρύνει τη στάση της απέναντι στην Τουρκία, να διακόψει άμεσα τη χρηματοδότηση, καθώς επίσης και τις συζητήσεις για την ένταξή της στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση; Δεύτερον, επειδή σωστά επισημάνατε ότι με το ευρώ έγινε απλώς ανακατανομή πλούτου, συμφωνείτε ότι, στα πλαίσια αυτά και για επίδειξη αλληλεγγύης, πρέπει να μειωθεί και να ελαφρυνθεί το χρέος της Ελλάδος, την οποία κατέστρεψε οικονομικά και η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση για να διασωθεί το ευρώ; Και τέλος, θεωρείτε ότι, αν εγκαταλείψουμε την αρχή της ομοφωνίας, θα εξυπηρετήσουμε την ανάγκη για ύπαρξη μιας Ευρώπης κυρίαρχων λαών;


  Angelika Niebler (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Herr Vizepräsident, Herr Ministerpräsident, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Sie sagten – und ich komme darauf gleich zu sprechen –: „less is more“ und „a deal is a deal“. Ich möchte mich für diese klaren Aussagen bei Ihnen, Herr Ministerpräsident, ganz, ganz herzlich bedanken. Ich unterstütze Sie vollumfänglich, möchte aber zum schlanken Europa nochmal nachfragen: In welchen Bereichen soll sich denn künftig die Europäische Union zurückziehen? Haben Sie da konkrete Vorschläge? Sie fragten ja zu Recht auch in unsere Runde: Is the EU still doing the right thing? Wenn ich Sie zurückfrage: Was ist denn Ihre Antwort darauf? Machen wir wirklich die richtigen Dinge, oder was würden Sie denn anders machen? Das wäre meine Frage.

Und natürlich erlaube ich mir auch, mit Blick auf die Debatten zum europäischen Haushalt diese Frage an Sie zurückzugeben. Ich möchte meinen Kollegen Elmar Brok nochmals ganz nachdrücklich unterstützen. Wir müssen über die Aufgaben diskutieren, die Europa hat. Aber die Aufgaben, für die wir in der Europäischen Union zuständig sind, müssen dann auch ordentlich finanziert werden. Nur dann können wir liefern, nur dann können wir das leisten, was wir den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern auch versprochen haben. Und da glaube ich, dass wir bei den vielen neuen Herausforderungen um eine moderate Erhöhung des europäischen Haushalts einfach nicht herumkommen werden. Also bitte: kein apodiktisches „Nein“, sondern ein bisschen mehr Flexibilität in dem Bereich.


  Victor Boştinaru (S&D). – Mr President, I will refer to two of the Prime Minister’s key words: unity and trust. I remember that we have to pay attention. If the gap between what we preach and what we practise is only getting larger then we are offering support to populism, Euroscepticism and even anti-euro cronyism. This is why I have two questions for you. What is your view on the future of the Schengen Ssystem and what role do you see for Romania and Bulgaria, knowing that your country systematically – and without any legal basis in the Treaties – opposed the integration of my country into Schengen? The second question is: what is your vision of the future of the eurozone, considering that a moment ago you referred to President Juncker’s State of Union speech with some, should I say, offensive connotations? If you have a vision, you should go to the doctor. What is your vision of the future of the eurozone and how can the eurozone be enlarged to integrate new Member States?


  Othmar Karas (PPE). – Herr Präsident, meine Damen und Herren! Ich möchte zuerst einmal dem Vizepräsidenten Timmermans für seine Antwortrede danken. Ich kann jeden einzelnen Satz unterstreichen, und er hat sich auch unterschieden von Ihnen, Herr Ministerpräsident, weil es keinen einzigen Widerspruch in den Formulierungen gegeben hat.

Daher muss ich nachfragen. Sie sprechen von der Einheit. Und ich frage Sie daher: Sind Sie bereit, die Einstimmigkeit zu reduzieren, damit die Europäische Union handlungsfähiger wird? Sind Sie für verstärkte Eigenmittel im europäischen Budget und für Eigenmittel zur Schaffung eines Euro-Budgets im EU-Haushalt? Sind Sie für gemeinsame Asylstandards? Sind Sie für eine gemeinsame Migrationspolitik? Sind Sie für den Europäischen Währungsfonds? Sind Sie für einen Sanktionsmechanismus bei Verletzungen des europäischen und internationalen Rechts und der europäischen Werte?

Und Sie sprechen von den Spannungen zwischen nationalen Parlamenten und Europäischem Parlament. Die haben wir nur dann, wenn wir keine klaren Zuständigkeiten haben. Die haben wir nur dann, wenn die Einstimmigkeit und der Intergouvernementalismus vorherrschen. Treten Sie dafür ein, dass das Europäische Parlament in allen Fragen die demokratische Legitimierung und Kontrolle vornimmt, wo auf europäischer Ebene entschieden wird!


  Emilian Pavel (S&D). – Domnule președinte, domnule prim-ministru, aici în spatele dumneavoastră, dacă vă uitați... Sunt și eu membru al Parlamentului European din România și vreau să apreciez câteva cuvinte pe care le-ați rostit. Da, Europa trebuie să ia anumite decizii. Da, toți trebuie să beneficiem de libera mișcare. Da, trebuie să ne ocupăm de anumite urgențe. Trebuie să fim uniți, ați vorbit de unitate. Ați vorbit de competitivitate europeană, domnule prim-ministru, foarte frumos. Dar, haideți, domnule prim-ministru, să folosim acest cuvânt pe care l-ați folosit, sau această expresie, team up.

I will just express it: team up, team up and respect the laws, Prime Minister. Respect the laws and the requests that were made here in Parliament and in the Council, and bring Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen. Don’t mix up corruption, because your ambassador had a meal for the New Year with a penal person from Romania who was convicted in the first instance. So please respect the law, Prime Minister.


  Hans-Olaf Henkel (ECR). – Mr President, Prime Minister, you mentioned – and rightfully so – that with Brexit, Europe would be faced with a big hole, but you also talked about the things that Prime Minister Churchill said, that unexpected things can happen. Brexit will not only have a tremendous negative impact on Britain, but also on the European Union. We talked recently to the heads of the Port of Rotterdam, who confirmed that.

I would therefore like to ask you to take the initiative, because I have not met one person to the right of me in this Parliament, and to your left, who does not regret Brexit. Take the initiative and make Britain another offer for more autonomy in immigration, so as to avoid Brexit at the last minute. Without Britain, Europe will never be complete and will never be credible.


  Annie Schreijer-Pierik (PPE). – Voorzitter, mijnheer Rutte, wij kennen elkaar goed, dus ik spreek u gewoon bij uw voornaam aan: Mark.

Heb ik het goed gehoord dat u net hebt gezegd dat landbouw- en structuurfondsen in Nederland tot de verleden tijd behoren? Dan kijk ik nu naar Frans Timmermans. Die heeft net gezegd dat de economische groei in Nederland dankzij Europa heel groot was en dat er een bedrag van 85 miljard euro mee gemoeid was als het gaat over export.

Wat de vermindering voor de landbouw betreft, weten we tot nu toe helemaal niet om welke cijfers het gaat. Gaat het om 15 procent of 30 procent? Daarnaast impliceert het klimaatakkoord een verhoging. Daarin moet heel Europa meedoen. Als dat niet gebeurt, dan zetten we uiteindelijk in heel Nederland de agrarische sector in de uitverkoop want dan hebben we te maken met een nog hogere kostprijs. In Nederland hebben we op milieugebied altijd gedaan wat Europa ons vroeg. Andere landen hebben dat niet gedaan. Ik wil er dus op aandringen om alles in Europa met elkaar gelijk te doen, want het gaat om de toekomst van onze gezinsbedrijven en onze verwerkende industrie. Het gaat om onze transportbedrijven en een leefbaar platteland, en uiteindelijk ook om artikel 2 van het klimaatakkoord. Daarbij moet voedselzekerheid niet alleen in Nederland, maar ook in Europa bovenaan staan. Ik hoop dat u daar met Carola Schouten hard aan meewerkt.


  Liisa Jaakonsaari (S&D). – Arvoisa puhemies, pääministeri Rutte korosti aivan oikein Euroopan unionin legitimiteettiä ja samalla kansallisten parlamenttien asemaa. Se on aivan oikein. Jäi kuitenkin sellainen vaikutelma, että Te olette varaamassa Euroopan parlamentille ja unionille pienen roolin, jonkinlaisen mini-Euroopan, kun mainitsitte, että ehkä ilmastonmuutoksessa olisi roolia yhteisille eurooppalaisille asioille. Mutta eikö ole aika vaikea erottaa tänä päivänä toisistaan eurooppalaista ja kansallista politiikkaa? Täällä moni meppi on jo painostanut Teitä veronkierron ja veroparatiisien sulkemiseen. Osittain Te vastasittekin jo siihen. Haluaisin kuitenkin vielä kysyä, että eikö tämä digivallankumous erityisesti edellytä, että verotuksessa voidaan tehdä uusia eurooppalaisia ja jopa maailmanlaajuisia ratkaisuja.


  Andrey Kovatchev (PPE). – Mr President, Prime Minister Rutte, thank you for your speech on a united and stable Europe. Indeed, we are all facing global challenges, and as you say, we need to have a European Union which delivers an added value where the national sovereign state cannot be effective enough. Such areas are common migration policy, a fair and effective European asylum system, protection of the external borders but also preserving and extending the free Schengen area.

Thank you very much for the birthday wishes to Prime Minister Borisov, and congratulations to the Bulgarian Presidency. I am not asking you for a present for Prime Minister Borisov’s birthday, but for fair treatment of all countries which fulfil all the criteria which are needed for the Schengen area. The same goes for ERM II – the exchange mechanism for the eurozone. I hope that you act only on behalf of the Netherlands and not some other Prime Ministers hiding behind your back. But when will the Netherlands give up this opposition and let Bulgaria and Romania join the Schengen area, at least as regards their international airports?


  Karin Kadenbach (S&D). – Herr Präsident, Herr Ministerpräsident! Wenn im Bierzelt Populisten schreien: „Keinen Eurocent mehr nach Europa!“, dann ist das das Eine. Wenn aber ein seriöser Politiker – und als solchen schätze ich Sie ein – hier in diesem Haus behauptet, wir verlangen nur mehr und mehr und mehr statt uns inhaltlich mit der Zukunft Europas auseinanderzusetzen, dann empfinde ich das bis zu einem gewissen Grad als Affront.

Denn wir haben nicht einfach mehr und mehr gefordert. Wir haben ganz konkret eingefordert, dass das, worauf wir uns in der Vergangenheit schon verständigt und wozu wir uns verpflichtet haben, eingehalten wird, dass die Leistungen, die wir für dieses Europa schon zugesagt haben – sei es im Bereich der Kohäsionsfonds, sei es im Bereich der Landwirtschaft –, erbracht werden können.

Und wir haben uns gemeinsam mit der Kommission und dem Rat darauf verständigt, neue Aufgaben, die wir als gemeinsame Aufgaben definiert haben, zu übernehmen. Diese Aufgaben brauchen eine budgetäre Ausstattung. Und ich ersuche Sie: Bierzelt ist Bierzelt, aber das Parlament und die Zukunft Europas sind etwas, womit wir uns seriös auseinandersetzen wollen. Wir brauchen nicht generell mehr Europa – wir brauchen ein besseres, ein sozialeres, ein gerechteres Europa.


  Sander Loones (ECR). – Voorzitter. Interessante toespraak, meneer Rutte. Wat jammer dat u ze niet minstens deels in het Nederlands hebt gegeven. Maar goed, dat kunt u goedmaken op het wereldkampioenschap voetbal. Oh nee, daaraan neemt u niet deel.

Serieuzer nu. Ik vind het altijd jammer wanneer Nederland niet kan meespelen. Dat maakt de competitie internationaal en Europees minder boeiend. Ik heb graag dat jullie wél op het veld staan. Als ik een aantal collega's hier in het Europees Parlement hoor, krijg ik trouwens de indruk dat zij liever een Europese ploeg zouden zien in plaats van die competitie tussen de verschillende lidstaten. Dat is niet mijn visie.

Over Europa nu. Die competitie moet er ook op Europees niveau zijn. En daarover gaat mijn vraag aan u. Hoe gaan wij die competitie organiseren? Laten we eerlijk zijn. We zien dat Frankrijk en Duitsland opnieuw het laken naar zich toe proberen te trekken, in een tegenreactie op de Visegrad- en de 'Club Med'-landen. Hoe gaan wij onze stem luider laten klinken? Dat is mijn vraag aan Nederland, Denemarken, Ierland en Finland, die kleinere landen uit Noord-Europa. Hoe zullen wij onze boodschap sterker brengen?


  Pavel Svoboda (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his realistic speech. Prime Minister, you spoke about the rule of law and said that this should apply to every state. Would you also agree that international law is part of the rule of law principle? If so, there are grave breaches of international law taking place, like the ones in Crimea and Georgia. If a Member State proposes to leave such grave breaches of international law unpunished and, for instance, to abolish sanctions, would you agree that such a state is working against the rule of law and thereby against the values of the European Union?


  Richard Corbett (S&D). – Mr President, the Prime Minister quoted Winston Churchill in his speech, but the British Prime Minister he reminded me of the most when he spoke was, sadly, David Cameron. Like him, you, Prime Minister, railed against the treaty provision on ever-closer union without quoting the full sentence, which refers to closer union respecting the principle of subsidiarity: in other words, as decentralised as possible and only centralised where necessary. Like him, you spoke of a European Union that only acts on the big things and not the little things. But the biggest thing this union does is the single European market, where the devil is in the detail, hence all the detailed legislation that Ministers who like to attack Brussels subsequently rail against and denounce as interference.

You spoke of Europe inflicting legislation on Member States and doing too much, as if Member States were blissfully unaware of what was happening, yet no legislation is agreed without the approval of the Council of Ministers, composed of national ministers accountable to national parliaments. It’s time that national politicians ceased to rail against Brussels as if it was something alien and started explaining it to citizens. Otherwise you might have the same thing happening in your country.


  Elisabetta Gardini (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, caro Primo ministro, io sono un po' preoccupata perché penso che siamo qui a parlare del futuro dell'Europa, ma questa Europa non avrà futuro se noi non diamo risposta a quello di cui ha parlato con passione Timmermans. Io l'ho molto apprezzato, sia oggi che ieri, perché ho trovato in lui veramente un appello accorato, un appello accorato a dare una risposta a risolvere questa crisi che è una cosa seria. La crisi dell'emigrazione che l'Europa sta affrontando farà saltare l'Europa, se voi non vi rendete conto in Consiglio che quella è la priorità. Non ci sarà il futuro dell'Europa, se non lo fate.

Abbiamo bisogno di tornare ai fondamentali, caro Ministro. Lei ha citato un padre dell'Europa, io vorrei citarne un altro: De Gasperi. Sono andata a rivedermi un suo discorso. Lui diceva, già nel 1954, che noi abbiamo bisogno di un'architettura europea che sappia dominare dalla base alla cima, dove inglobiamo tutti i pensieri, e non, come dice tante volte Verhofstadt: tu sei buono, tu sei cattivo, tu sei incluso, tu sei fuori dalla porta, no! E guardi che allora la situazione non era semplice. Eravamo dopo la guerra, c'erano ancora tanti affascinati dal totalitarismo bolscevico. Oggi noi dobbiamo riprendere quella Europa per costruire una casa comune, dove i cittadini vogliano entrare, dal basso verso l'alto. Dall'alto verso il basso non funziona.


  Ramón Jáuregui Atondo (S&D). – Señor presidente, señor primer ministro, yo aprecio, como muchos colegas, una enorme contradicción en su discurso, porque compartimos ese escenario geopolítico y geoeconómico preocupante sobre Europa. Hay una enorme cantidad de retos en materia defensiva, en materia de Agenda Digital, en materia migratoria.

Todo el mundo pone sobre la mesa enormes retos; usted también, pero usted dice que tiene que reducirse el presupuesto de la Unión Europea. Usted dice que, al irse el Reino Unido, tenemos que reducir el presupuesto y no tenemos dar ni un euro más desde los Estados que pueden hacerlo. Esto es una contradicción absoluta.

En mi opinión, usted tiene que respondernos si cree que es creíble, que es verosímil, que es posible afrontar el reto del futuro de Europa con todos estos grandes desafíos sin presupuesto y sin una mayor aportación económica. Y mi pregunta concreta es: ¿Cree usted en los recursos propios de la Unión Europea? ¿Usted cree posible que la Unión Europea establezca recursos propios para financiar el futuro de la Unión?


  Joachim Starbatty (ECR). – Herr Präsident! Herr Ministerpräsident und Herr Vizepräsident, Sie haben beide das Prinzip des rule of law angesprochen. Man kann auch sagen, wenn es das rule of law nicht gibt, dann gibt es auf lange Zeit auch kein Europa.

Aber schauen wir uns doch einmal die Euro-Zone an. Frau Christine Lagarde hat gesagt, wir mussten die Verträge brechen, um den Euro zu retten. Und alles, was ich in der Euro-Zone sehe, ist nicht rechtsstaatlich. Die Frage ist ja immer: Was müssen wir tun, um die Euro-Zone zusammenzuhalten – auch gegen das Gesetz? Und jetzt wissen wir, wie fragil diese Institution ist, weil sie falsch konstruiert worden ist.

Und wir sagen jetzt nicht, wir müssen die falsche Konstruktion beseitigen, sondern wir führen jetzt Fonds ein. Wir führen Fonds ein, wenn Leute gegen Gesetze verstoßen haben, damit sie in Zukunft nicht mehr gegen Gesetze verstoßen. Ich kann nur sagen: Wer diese Euro-Zone so weiterentwickelt, wird dauernd, Herr Timmermans, moral hazard haben. Was soll ich mich anstrengen im eigenen Lande, wenn andere meine Fehler zudeckeln und mich dafür noch belohnen?


  Tom Vandenkendelaere (PPE). – Minister-president, goedemiddag. Ik zit hier helemaal achteraan in de engelenbak van dit Parlement, recht voor u. Ja, u ziet me wel.

We hebben hier gisteren een debat gevoerd over de toekomst van de economische en monetaire Unie. En de consensus was eigenlijk best groot. De EMU was en is nog steeds een historisch project, maar is nog verre van afgewerkt. Dat wisten we, maar toch hebben we jaren aan een stuk de andere kant op gekeken, eigenlijk tot en met de financiële crisis van 2008. Herstelwerken aan die EMU zijn nu echt wel nodig. Maar de meningen daarover lopen nog erg uiteen.

Ik wil kort terugkeren naar de oprichting van de EMU. Vele economen en academici waren het er al bij aanvang over eens dat een monetaire Unie niet kan werken zonder een budgettaire capaciteit. Er is ook geen enkele andere monetaire Unie ter wereld zonder zo'n budgettaire en politieke link eraan gekoppeld. Toch zijn we met die wankele constructie gestart. Politieke belangen kregen de bovenhand, economische wetmatigheden moesten het onderspit delven.

Daarom deze vraag: Wat is er volgens u fout gelopen bij de creatie van de EMU? Indien u in 1989 zelf in het Delors—Comité gezeten zou hebben om de blauwdruk voor de EMU uit te tekenen, hoe zou u het dan aangepakt hebben om ervoor te zorgen dat we vandaag verder zouden staan?


  Maria João Rodrigues (S&D). – Mr President, (inaudible as the microphone is not switched on) ... a more united Europe in the current world, but unity should be based on all Member States getting a sense of benefit from belonging to the European Union. And something is unbalanced now, because some Member States get a benefit from having a geographically-central position in Europe, combined with good exchange rates regarding the euro launch, plus using tax rates which are low to attract more resources. This creates unbalanced conditions in which to invest and to create jobs. So we need to rebalance the situation, and the minimum we need to do is to have a European budget keeping a strong commitment with cohesion and to equip our monetary zone with a fiscal capacity. I really agree that we can no longer continue with the situation of a monetary zone – the only one in the world – that does not have a fiscal capacity. These are decisions for the next European Council, so we count on you also to move in this direction.


  Daniel Buda (PPE). – Domnule președinte, domnule prim-ministru, două sunt problemele pe care doresc să vi le supun atenției, și anume: țara dumneavoastră s-a opus permanent în Consiliu intrării României și Bulgariei în spațiul Schengen, deși îndeplineam toate condițiile tehnice, fiind furnizori de securitate și stabilitate în regiune. Aș dori să vă întreb în mod clar: care este poziția dumneavoastră astăzi față de intrarea României și Bulgariei în spațiul Schengen, deoarece situația actuală mi se pare profund inacceptabilă și incorectă față de poporul român.

A doua problemă este cea legată de bugetul Uniunii Europene. Olanda astăzi se opune creșterii contribuției naționale la bugetul Uniunii Europene până la un nivel la care să se permită finanțarea adecvată a politicii de coeziune, a politicii agricole comune, dar și să se facă față unor provocări cum ar fi migrația sau securitatea frontierelor. În acest context, vă întreb, domnule prim-ministru, cum credeți că putem face o Uniune Europeană puternică fără resursele financiare necesare în acest sens?


  Tiemo Wölken (S&D). – Herr Präsident! Sehr geehrter Ministerpräsident, vielen Dank, dass Sie heute hier sind. Sie sprachen in Ihrer Rede von Solidarität und davon, das Leben in der Europäischen Union zu verbessern. Ich muss Sie fragen: Ist es solidarisch, dass 40 % der Konzerngewinne in Steueroasen versickern? Oder ist es solidarisch, dass wir das Geld in die Hand nehmen und innerhalb Europas für bessere Lebensbedingungen für Menschen sorgen? Ist es solidarisch, dass wir mehr Geld in ERASMUS investieren? Ist es solidarisch, dass wir mehr Geld in ein Interrail-Ticket investieren? Und ist es solidarisch, dass wir die Jugendarbeitslosigkeit in Europa beenden und nicht Konzerne in Steueroasen unterbringen?

Das ist meine Definition von Solidarität. Und deswegen meine klare Frage: Glauben Sie, dass es notwendig ist, Unternehmen in den Ländern überall in Europa gerecht zu besteuern, um den Europäerinnen und Europäern zu helfen?


  Brian Hayes (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to welcome Prime Minister Rutte to the

European Parliament.

Prime Minister, I think if you were to answer all our questions, you’d be here for the next week, so can I give you just one reflection, as an Irish colleague? You said earlier that you need the support of the European Parliament. Can I say to you that the European Parliament and the pro-European forces in the European Parliament need the support of the European Council to get more of Europe working? There is a majority in this House for an ambitious European project. We come from the centre right and the centre left, from the centre ground, and we represent the majority of European citizens who are ambitious and want the European project to succeed across the 500 million citizens. That’s the message I want you to bring back to the European Council: that, if you want our support, we look for your support as well.

On the EU budget, can I ask you this? Let’s be ambitious for a change. Let’s do something differently for a change. Let’s agree the EU budget before next year. That would send out a strong message that we are serious about reform, serious about new contributions and serious about making sure that Europe works.


  Eugen Freund (S&D). – Mr President, Mr Prime Minister – here. It’s good to have you back in the Parliament, and I am referring to this, in particular, because I remember you were here in January of 2016, and at this point you said: ‘we have two months more in order to settle the resettlement issue’. And now it’s been, I think, 29 months since you said this, and we still haven’t a solution for that problem.

So I ask you: why did you fail, and what kind of hopes do you have for the next presidency, which will also have to tackle that issue?


  Cristian-Silviu Buşoi (PPE). – Domnule președinte, domnule prim-ministru, în calitate de membru al Consiliului European v-ați declarat un adversar al integrării României și Bulgariei în spațiul Schengen, în condițiile în care România deja acționează de facto, apărând peste 2 000 de kilometri de frontieră europeană estică. Opoziția dumneavoastră a consolidat și alimentat un discurs al unor eurosceptici în România, care leagă această decizie de anumite politici economice protecționiste și de întârzierea intrării în concurență a portului Constanța din România cu alte porturi din Uniunea Europeană. În sesiunea plenară precedentă, Parlamentul European a reiterat apelul ca România și Bulgaria să fie integrate imediat în spațiul Schengen și - cum bine ați menționat dând exemplul Imperiului Roman - marile imperii se destramă dacă nu reușesc să își securizeze granițele. La două săptămâni după decizia Parlamentului European, aș vrea să vă întreb: ce poziție aveți legat de intrarea României și Bulgariei în spațiul Schengen?


  Ana Gomes (S&D).(inaudible as the microphone is not switched on) …the EU ensures security and the rule of law when Member States, including the one that you lead, function as laundromats to kleptocrats, oligarchs, the corrupt and criminals from around the world.

According to Europol, your country accounts for one fourth of actions reported as suspected instances of money laundering, mostly related to drug-trafficking.

Senhor Presidente, a Holanda é o principal paraíso fiscal para os evasores do meu país, Portugal. A sua desculpa de que a fiscalidade é matéria de soberania nacional não serve para dar cobertura ao papel holandês na corrida para o fundo na fiscalidade na União Europeia, que põe em causa a solidariedade, o mercado único, regras de concorrência, justiça, boa governação e a segurança de nós todos.

Qual é a sua posição sobre o CCCTB?

Why delay the VAT reform, and why delay an EU tax on digital platforms, financial transactions and polluting industries? Why obstruct these ways to increase the EU’s own resources and favour economic convergence and political cohesion in the eurozone and in the European Union?


  Ruža Tomašić (ECR). – Poštovani premijeru Rutte, dobrodošli i hvala Vam na doprinosu ovoj važnoj raspravi.


Kao i Vi, Uniju vidim kao zajednicu suverenih država koje međusobno surađuju u pitanjima na koja europska razina može dati bolje odgovore od nacionalne razine. No i Vi i ja znamo da je supsidijarnost princip kojega EU institucije prečesto zaborave.


Drago mi je da ste jedan od rijetkih lidera koji su jasno i glasno izrekli da ne trebamo više Europe. Trebamo bolju Europu koja će imati povjerenja u države članice, a intervenirati samo u ona područja u kojima može ponuditi dodatnu vrijednost.


Koja su to područja mora biti plod konsenzusa. Rekli ste da Unija nije meni s kojega svatko može uzeti samo ono što mu odgovara. Slažem se, uz dodatak da bismo pravila koja vrijede jednako za sve ipak trebali prihvatiti jednoglasno, a ne da ona bilo kome budu nametnuta.


Ova Unija mora biti utemeljena na dobroj vjeri inače nema budućnosti.

And by the way, John Wayne did what the scriptwriters told him to do, and so far the scriptwriters for the EU are not doing such a good job.


  Norica Nicolai (ALDE). – Mr President, I would like to say to the Prime Minister that in my country there is still a lot of sympathy for his beautiful tulip country. But don’t forget, Prime Minister, that these tulip flowers come from East Europe. We share the same values in our history and we ask you to share the same values in the European Union, to respect the Treaty of Schengen acquis and to respect all the Treaties, because for us the rule of law means respect for the Treaties of the European Union, including the Lisbon Treaty.


  Bas Eickhout (Verts/ALE). – Minister-president Rutte, dank u wel. Ja, weer even in het Nederlands mag ook weer. Allereerst wil ik u complimenteren, want na vele jaren erkent u dat Europa meer is dan markt en munt. Volgens mij is dat al 20 jaar lang de slogan van GroenLinks. Maar dat maakt niet uit. Het is hartstikke goed dat die stap is gezet, dus gefeliciteerd. Ook op klimaatgebied zet u hele goede stappen. Ik kan u melden dat het Europees Parlement Nederland steunt om de uitstoot met 55 procent te verminderen. Dus wij staan al achter u. Nu nog wat meer landen in de Raad meekrijgen. Dat is nog een klus.

Maar wat we missen in het debat en in uw verhaal is de volgende stap in uw liefde voor Europa, namelijk een sociaal Europa. Waar is het verhaal van sociaal Europa? Zoals u weet, hebben we een interne markt en een Europa met één markt van werknemers gecreëerd, maar op belastinggebied zijn we nog nationale eilandjes waar de landen van kunnen profiteren.

Ik heb een hele simpele vraag: gaat u het initiatief steunen om binnen Europa een minimumtarief voor vennootschapsbelasting te krijgen om die nivellering naar beneden tegen te gaan?


  Jiří Payne (EFDD). – Pane předsedající, pane premiére, EU nefunguje. Svět evropských institucí a rétorika, která všechno přelakovává na růžovo, to není svět, ve kterém žijí lidé. To je svět nekonečně se měnících regulací, stále přísnějších a brutálně bezohledných a přitom zbytečných. To je svět zákazů, příkazů, povinností a pokut. Svět, ve kterém neplatí zavedené tradice ani názvosloví. Pomazánkové máslo už je jen pomazánkové, žárovka nesmí mít žár a vysavače nevysávají.

Namísto demokracie máme demokratický deficit, namísto volného obchodu máme jednotný trh. Volný pohyb kapitálu je sice bezvadná věc, ale drtivá většina Evropanů žádný kapitál nemá.

Nevraživost vůči Velké Británii, která se rozhodla využít svého legitimního práva, je vidět na každém kroku. A migrace ukázala, že EU nezvládá svou vlastní existenci a své selhání chce řešit solidaritou členských států.

To je svět, ve kterém občané nemají vůbec žádný vliv na to, co se děje, a to musíme změnit. Musíme vytvořit alternativu, schůdnou cestu, která napraví evropský kontinent, plán, jak založit spolupráci na lepších základech.


  Francisco José Millán Mon (PPE). – Señor presidente, gracias, primer ministro, por estar hoy con nosotros. Como este es un debate sobre el futuro de Europa, voy a referirme a los jóvenes. Todos conocemos la ventaja del programa Erasmus, pero yo creo que también es necesario que los jóvenes estudien en profundidad los antecedentes, objetivos y funcionamiento de las instituciones de la Unión Europea, ese «camelopardo» tan difícil de definir al que usted se refería hace un minuto.

Por ello, celebro que recientemente el Consejo aprobara la recomendación de la Comisión sobre la promoción de la educación en temas europeos en las escuelas europeas. Esta asignatura europea me parece muy conveniente, y espero que los Estados miembros pronto la implementen.

En segundo lugar, quisiera subrayar un grave problema que afecta hoy a toda Europa: la baja tasa de natalidad y, por consiguiente, un futuro con menos jóvenes. Me gustaría, o me habría gustado, que en el marco financiero plurianual este declive demográfico que afecta ya a toda Europa hubiera estado más presente a la hora de repartir fondos entre las regiones. En su país la tasa de natalidad ya es baja, está en 1,66 por mujer, aunque todavía es superior a la de otros países. Me gustaría conocer su valoración de estos hechos.


  Mercedes Bresso (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signor Primo ministro, lei ci ha detto che l'Europa deve essere di meno nelle cose inutili – e io posso essere d'accordo che dobbiamo ridurre l'invasività di certe norme di dettaglio – però contemporaneamente ha chiaramente detto che serve un'Unione europea forte in politica estera, difesa, sicurezza e nelle politiche economiche e quindi nella difesa della zona euro.

Allora, non crede che su queste questioni sia necessaria una vera cessione di sovranità, e quindi più Europa? In secondo luogo, non crede che serva un bilancio adeguato? Lei certamente ha ragione quando dice che l'azzardo morale è sbagliato, ma vorrei vedere cosa farebbe lei se si trovasse con il 30, 40 o 50 % di giovani disoccupati o di disoccupati, se sceglierebbe prima di tutto l'austerità o se sceglierebbe invece di rispondere alle domande dei suoi cittadini.


  Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to address the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, first I want to join the call from my colleagues for the Council to find a solution to the migration issue next week. Second, you said we need to regain the trust of citizens. Yes. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Kurz took a clear stand: the work of the European Parliament should be in one location. Don’t you think that, as EU leaders engage in talks on key reforms and on the budget, the time has come to put the issue of the single seat on the European Council agenda? Are you willing to take a stand and to open a constructive dialogue with your colleagues and with us for a roadmap for treaty change; for a more effective, a less costly, a climate-friendly European Parliament close to citizens? You said, Prime Minister: ‘Let’s show the people that we practise what we preach’. Are you going to do it?



  Răzvan Popa (S&D). – Domnule prim-ministru, România merită Schengen. Am ascultat cu atenție discursul dumneavoastră, iar în spiritul a ceea ce ați spus, mai ales despre solidaritate, vă cer să sprijiniți intrarea României și a Bulgariei în spațiul Schengen. Fac acest apel, deoarece pentru cetățenii români este de neînțeles opoziția Olandei față de intrarea României în Schengen. Există în țara mea un curent de opinie potrivit căruia Olanda se opune aderării României la spațiul Schengen pentru ca portul Constanța să nu devină un competitor direct al portului Rotterdam. Pentru că România a îndeplinit toate criteriile de aderare - și nu o spun numai eu, o spune și Comisia, o știe și Parlamentul European -, iar dacă ar fi alte motive, cu siguranță și alte state s-ar fi opus intrării României în spațiul Schengen. De aceea, în concluzie, domnule prim-ministru, vă cer să sprijiniți intrarea României în spațiul Schengen, precum și a Bulgariei.


  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Mr President, dear Prime Minister, let me tell you very frankly: I was delighted to listen to the first part of your speech. You were in the line of the best Dutch tradition of Huig de Groot, pleading for a geopolitical global role for the European Union. But then you have to explain to us how this is compatible – this giant external European Union – with an internal dwarf European Union. Because you don’t care about MFF, about eurozone reform. You plead for more subsidiarity, so how do you make compatible a very, very weak internal European Union with a giant in the global landscape? This is not sustainable. This is a major contradiction, Mr Rutte. And let me put a final question: do you really believe that one per cent of the budget, one per cent of GDP, is the fast track – the big way – for the big government of the European institutions? One per cent, Mr Rutte? Please, be reasonable. I would say, like Mr Verhofstadt: come on, Mr Rutte.


  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Mr President, Prime Minister Rutte, we got your message: focus on added value and what the European Union can do best by acting together. That is the case with external borders, migration and refugees. So, you take the floor in the next European Summit and state three principles. Number one: the situation of the Aquarius is not only immoral, it’s against humanitarian law and European law. It’s about time that the Council fingers point not at those who act like the new government in Spain but at those who do not act.

Number two: the question cannot be externalised and the answer cannot be simply repressive. It has to be holistic and preventive. And number three: it’s got to be political. No country can be left alone; not Malta, or Spain, or Italy can be left alone. The question is political. You quoted Winston Churchill by saying that politics is about foretelling the future and explaining eventually why it didn’t happen. But the best Churchill quote is that politics is first and foremost about action, and no action at all is the worst failure for the European Union.


(Fine della procedura "catch the eye")


  Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. – Mr President, I am so happy that the whole Parliament has now come together to listen to my final reply. Thank you all for participating in this debate. I believe it is an excellent opportunity to discuss the big issues of the European Union and how we can work together.

There were so many questions, I cannot answer all of them but I have tried to bring them back to basically four key issues. The first of them, of course, is the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). Ms Schreijer-Pierik, I am of course in favour of the common agricultural policy. It has to stay, but it also has to modernise and the whole budget has to modernise. We, as politicians, have to make choices in scarcity. We have to make choices about what we are going to spend our money on.

I am absolutely convinced that we cannot just say there are new tasks which have to be funded and, at the same time, we cannot find savings in the existing budget. That is the plea I am making here. That is exactly what all the Member States have to do. I believe that simply saying we have to go to 1.3% again will only fuel the extremists who are saying that Europe is not making the necessary choices.

Secondly, on migration: here today I reach out my hand to Italy because I know that they have to deal with an extremely difficult situation. But I also eagerly await the Italian Government’s national measures because they have to do a lot in order to manage the inflow of illegal migrants better, and then they know that we stand ready to show solidarity and, as the European Union, to work collectively to address this issue, which no doubt will be with us for years to come.

Ms de Lange rightly alluded to the Common European Asylum System, and we need, as part of that, to take out the root causes of migration. This is also my answer to Mr Bashir on this issue: better guarding of our borders and working on better return mechanisms for rejected asylum seekers. Again, I hope that I will be successful, with my colleagues at the European Council in June, in taking the necessary decisions although, looking at where the debate is now, it is not an absolute given that we will be successful on this.

Many of you alluded to or discussed Schengen and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Let me be very clear on this: I welcome the fact that both Bulgaria and Romania have the aspiration fully to join the Schengen acquis. We acknowledge the work which has been done in Bulgaria and Romania on this issue, but we also know the work is not yet finished. Romania and Bulgaria need to meet several conditions that stem from joining the EU, as defined in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, one of the benchmarks of which concerns corruption – and, here too, a deal is a deal. We cannot have countries entering the Schengen area if they do not fulfil all the criteria.

Another issue is that of which tasks the European Union should be working on. For example, one of the tasks raised by the S&D Group is the issue of a social Europe. I believe that social affairs have to stay at a national level, but when social affairs have a cross-border impact then Europe also needs to get involved. Therefore, for example, this issue of making sure that people get paid the same amount of money in the same circumstances for the same type of work is an issue where Europe has a role to play, as it does in the area of transportation.

I know that one of the speakers was the chair of the biggest Dutch union and I am absolutely convinced that, in those days, she would have fully agreed with what I have just stated. As I said in my speech, the European Union has to concentrate on its core tasks: those being, of course, the internal market, economic and monetary union (EMU), external borders, the issue of migration and, yes, the big issue of climate change.

Finally, regarding the eurozone and EMU: as you know, a particular subject on the agenda for the European Council meeting at the end of June is the banking union. I believe that we need to take the necessary next steps on the banking union. But let me also go back to what was the basic promise of the euro, namely that it was not a redistribution of wealth but that our cooperation makes the cake bigger for everyone. That was the basis of EMU.

I believe that EMU can deliver on this only if all the Member States get their house in order, which means aiming for sound and sustainable budgets and competitive economies through the implementation of structural reforms. When you do this, you will have not one big European mechanism to absorb macroeconomic shocks, but rather mechanisms at national level – 19 shock-absorption funds – and then you will not need additional stabilisation funds at European level.

We also have to remain focused – and this is crucial – on structural reforms. They are essential for competitive and shock-resistant economies, and here, as I said in my speech, already at the moment in the MMF, we are spending hundreds of billions of euros within the eurozone on cohesion funds, on a common agricultural policy and on structural funds. My plea would be that the eurozone countries, together with the Commission, would give much clearer guidance on how to make better use of that already existing money in order to ensure that it fuels and supports structural changes in our national economies, because that would mean we were making better use of the existing money.

The idea of the Commission proposals is to put some extra money in for the eurozone, but here I would say that we already have hundreds of billions of euros on the table and we can make better use of them. So, in terms of EMU reform, the main issue on the agenda at the end of June will be the banking union but also we will no doubt discuss some wider themes, and this will be part of my input to that debate.

Thank you again for hosting me and giving me this opportunity. I thank the whole Parliament for this wonderful initiative and I will tell all my colleagues – six have already been here, I was number seven – that they should all come because it is useful, it is invigorating and it is also great fun. So thank you.



  President. – Thank you very much, Mr Rutte, for the timing.

The debate is closed.

Written statements (Rule 162)


  Maria Grapini (S&D), în scris. – Sper, domnule prim-ministru, că nici dumneavoastră, nici Consiliul nu vă concentrați pe ultima parte a citatului! V-am ascultat cu atenție și am fost de acord cu o parte din afirmații, dar v-ați contrazis în multe puncte! Ați spus că doriți o Europă mai bună, dar nu doriți să susțineți un buget mai mare pentru coeziune. Ați spus că statele trebuie să lucreze între ele, că înțelegeți valoarea compromisurilor și a intereselor partajate, dar, în același timp, susțineți paradisurile fiscale în țara dumneavoastră și nu susțineți interesele pentru toți cetățenii europeni! Un exemplu elocvent este opoziția sistematică a intrării României și Bulgariei în Schengen, deși de șapte ani îndeplinesc toate condițiile tehnice! Ați spus că UE trebuie să țină seama de poziția parlamentelor naționale, dar în Consiliu țineți cont discreționar de acest lucru, deși spuneați că UE trebuie să-și asculte cetățenii! Toți cetățenii, domnule prim-ministru! Atunci, ascultați și milioanele de români și bulgari, dar și pe cetățenii din alte țări care cer admiterea României și Bulgariei în Schengen! Ați vorbit de unitate, dar adăugați și solidaritate! Ce Uniune poate fi aceea care ignoră coeziunea socială?


  András Gyürk (PPE), írásban. – Tisztelt Elnök Úr, tisztelt Képviselőtársaim! Ez már a sokadik alkalom, amikor összeülünk, hogy az Unió egyik miniszterelnökével közösen megvitassuk Európa jövőjét. Általában szép és nemes elvekről vitatkozunk, de egyre inkább az a benyomásom, hogy folyamatosan szakadunk el a valóságtól. Felülről próbáljuk megmondani az európai polgároknak, hogy milyen is lesz a jövőjük és, hogy mi a fontos az életükben. Úgy gondolom, hogy ez éppen ellentétes a megbízatásunkkal. Mi azért ülünk itt, hogy képviseljük az embereket és nem pedig azért, hogy irányítsuk a gondolkodásukat.

Az Eurobarometer idén áprilisban végzet egy Uniós szintű felmérést, amiben többek között azt is megkérdezték, hogy mik azok a témák, amik a legfontosabbak az Unió jövőjét tekintve, miről kéne a közelgő Európai Parlamenti választási kampánynak szólnia. A felmérésben világosan látszik, hogy a három legfontosabb téma, a migráció, a terrorizmus és a munkanélküliség. Úgy gondolom, hogy ezeket a témákat messze nem kezeljük a súlyuknak megfelelően, illetve amikor mégis beszélünk róluk, akkor a legritkábban nyújtunk valós megoldást. Nehezen tudom elképzelni, hogy azok az európai polgárok, akik végigkövetik ezt a vitát, elégedetten dőlnének hátra a székükben, mert megint egy kicsivel nagyobb biztonságban érzik a jövőjüket. Kérem Önöket, hogy beszéljünk valósan és konstruktívan ezekről a témákról, hiszen erről szól a demokrácia.


  Ivan Štefanec (PPE), písomne. – V časoch ťažkých otázok a veľkých výziev nám holandský predseda vlády Marko Rutte pripomína dôležitosť Európskeho projektu a prečo sa oplatí zaň bojovať. EÚ je jeden z najúspešnejších projektov našej novodobej histórie, kde spleť odlišných národov, kultúr a jazykov sa snaží hľadať kompromisy a spoločne dosiahnuť ciele, ktoré by sme ako jednotlivci nevedeli uskutočniť. Samozrejme, naša Únia si prechádza náročným obdobím, či už je to odchod Británie, ťažká ekonomická situácia alebo komplexná utečenecká kríza, odpoveď ale určite nie je ľahostajnosť alebo uzavretosť. Súhlasím s Markom Ruttem, že musíme dôslednejšie hľadať, kde EÚ môže napomôcť k zlepšeniu našich životov, a takisto plne oceniť tú hodnotu jednoty v tomto rýchlo meniacom sa svete.


  Romana Tomc (PPE), pisno. – Prav vsi predsedniki vlad so do zdaj v svojih govorih v Evropskem parlamentu poudarjali pomembnost sodelovanja in zaupanja. Na žalost pa tega sodelovanja in enotnosti ni čutiti.

Ko gre za ključna vprašanja naše prihodnosti, nekateri še vedno vztrajajo pri svojih idejah, čeprav se je pokazalo, da so za ostale nesprejemljive.

Danes smo slišali, da ni potrebe po sprejemanju novih sporazumov, če se niti stari ne izvajajo. Prav je, da gledamo v prihodnost, vendar je v tem trenutku bolj pomembno, da se poenotimo o rešitvah izzivov sedanjosti. Varnostna situacija, migrantska kriza, stanje v gospodarstvu, staranje prebivalstva, neenotna in neučinkovita zunanja politika, Brexit so teme, kjer bi morali najti skupni jezik in ukrepati takoj.

Odgovori na ta vprašanja bodo v veliki meri vplivali tudi na to, kakšna bo naša prihodnost. Ne želim si, da bi izgubili zaupanje v demokracijo, vladavino prava in človekove pravice. Prav tako pa si ne želim, da bi izgubili svojo identiteto.


  Henna Virkkunen (PPE), kirjallinen. – Kiitos puheestanne, pääministeri Rutte. Hienoa, että nostitte esiin Euroopan unionin yhtenäisyyden kansainvälisissä suhteissa ja vapaakaupan tärkeyden. Nämä molemmat ovat maalleni Suomelle ja minulle tärkeitä. Yhtenäistä Eurooppaa tarvitaan tässä maailmanajassa enemmän kuin pitkään aikaan. Euroopan tulee toimia globaalina johtajana ja ottaa sille kuuluva painoarvo kansainvälisillä kentillä. Euroopan on edistettävä ja puolustettava yhteisiä arvoja: oikeusvaltioperiaatteen toteutumista, demokraattisia arvoja, kansanvaltaa, tasa-arvoa. EU:n on toimittava rauhan ja vakauden eteen. Myös kauppapolitiikassa EU:lla on mahdollista ottaa johtajuus käsiinsä. Kun Yhdysvallat on vetäytymässä ja Kiina puolestaan vahvistamassa otettaan, on ehdottoman tärkeää, että Eurooppa maailman suurimpana kauppa-alueena näyttää suuntaa maailmankaupassa ja on aktiivinen kauppasopimusten laatimisessa.


  Kristina Winberg (EFDD), skriftlig. – Europas framtid avgörs idag. Europa med sina olika kulturer och nationalstater är det vi européer kallar vårt hem, vi har inget annat hem. Om detta hem raseras eller förändras till oigenkännlighet genom att andra kulturella sedvänjor får ta över vart ska då vi, våra barn och barnbarn ta vägen? EU lanserades som en lösning för att stärka Europa genom fred, handel och samarbete. Detta har nu istället utvecklats till ett maskineri som bland annat försöker förmå medlemsländerna att ta emot enorma mängder illegala migranter, framförallt ekonomiska migranter, ofta från världens mest dysfunktionella och våldsamma stater och kulturer. Detta skeende omvandlar i grunden många av Europas länder i sådan rask takt att vi har förlorat kontrollen. Det finns inget utrymme, tid eller incitament för assimilering av dessa grupper och snart inget utrymme för de inhemska europeiska kulturerna. EU måste nu stoppa all migration förutom en begränsad andel kvotflyktingar, samt stoppa all expansion av EU. Detta är vad en majoritet av européerna vill och vad som krävs som ett första steg om vi skall fortsätta att förvalta det gemensamma europeiska kulturarvet samt de specifika nationella europeiska kulturerna och ge välmående, säkra samt demokratiska stater i arv till våra barn och barnbarn.


(The sitting was suspended for a short time)



Posljednje ažuriranje: 20. rujna 2018.Pravna obavijest - Politika zaštite privatnosti