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PV 15/01/2020 - 6
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Mercoledì 15 gennaio 2020 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

6. Posizione del Parlamento europeo sulla conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa (discussione)
Video degli interventi
PV
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione sulla posizione del Parlamento europeo sulla conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa (2019/2990(RSP)).

 
  
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  Nikolina Brnjac, President-in-Office of the Council. – Mr President, thank you for this opportunity to discuss the project of a Conference on the Future of Europe, which has emerged over the last months and, in particular, to listen to a debate on the Parliament’s position.

As Prime Minister Plenković told you yesterday, as far as the Council is concerned, we are starting work to define our position regarding the establishment of the Conference. As you know, the December European Council gave us guidance to this effect. We believe that priority should be given to the implementation of the strategic agenda for 2019-2024, agreed in June last year, and to delivering concrete results for the benefit of our citizens.

The priorities outlined in the strategic agenda closely echo those raised by our citizens, for instance in the citizen consultations and dialogues. The Conference should build on the success of these dialogues over the last two years. Yesterday, my Prime Minister underlined how the Conference could be an opportunity to listen to citizens so that we are better able to meet their expectations.

We think the Conference should contribute to the development of our policies in the medium and long term so that we can better tackle current and future challenges. We also believe the upcoming Conference should be an inclusive process, involving our three institutions in full respect of the interinstitutional balance of our respective roles. Likewise, Member States should equally be involved, including their parliaments. Shared ownership is important.

The European Council asked the Croatian Presidency to work towards defining a Council position on the content, scope, composition and functioning of a Conference on the Future of Europe and to engage on this basis with the European Parliament and the Commission. We are indeed starting this work and I can announce to you that, today in Brussels, ambassadors will have a first informal exchange of views to that end, and that the General Affairs Council on 28 January will discuss the issue.

We will listen to your debate on the Parliament’s position and read your resolution attentively. We also look forward to the Commission’s input, which we understand will come back next week. Thank you very much for your attention.

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the Commission. – Mr President, it is an honour to be here today in the heart of European democracy to discuss the conference on the future of Europe video. As a previous Member of this House, I consider the European Parliament as a close friend. Today I stand before you, honourable Members, still as your friend and now also as your partner in my new role as Vice-President for Democracy and Demography.

Like you, I know how important citizens are to European policy-making: after all we are making these decisions to their benefit. However, we have not always got that right – this must be acknowledged. Now we have an opportunity to reflect with citizens, to listen to them, to connect and engage, to answer and explain, to build trust and confidence in each other between the European Union and citizens. This is an important part of what the Conference on the Future of Europe is about. We are at a key moment in European political history and are facing a unique opportunity, as well as a challenge. Getting this right will have repercussions, not just for the present but for the future. It is up to us all to make this a success.

Honourable Members, let me be very clear: we are no longer politics as business as usual. The old way of doing politics no longer works. Citizens want us to hear them, and we must listen to them and give them the feedback they need. Cooperation and courage are the new keywords in this process. We must be brave and find new creative and innovative solutions to make our democracy work even better for citizens. We must do this together as partners: the Parliament, the Council and the Commission.

To this end, a joint declaration from all three institutions can pave the way for this unique partnership. But partnership does not stop with these three institutions. Member States and their national parliaments must also be involved. Their cooperation will be an asset to this process. To ensure we reach every citizen, especially those who do not always engage directly with us, we rely heavily on cooperation with the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. I am committed to visiting regions in my role as Vice-President, and I want to hear from citizens from all corners of the European Union.

Shall we stop here, dear colleagues? Certainly not: this is an open process. As the Conference progresses, hopefully, others will join us.

There are two strands to this process. One on policy, with debates clustered around the themes, including the Commission’s political priorities and the European Council strategic agenda. The second strand addresses institutional topics such as the election of the President of the Commission and transnational lists. Here, the role of the Commission is that of honest broker. My colleague, Vice-President Věra Jourová, is responsible for following this institutional strand.

The European Commission will adopt its contribution to the shaping of the conference in its Communication on 22 January next week. This Communication is the Commission’s contribution to the discussion that needs to be held in the coming weeks between the three institutions aimed at agreeing together on the scope, formal structure and objectives of the Conference. This would be the content of the joint declaration I referred to earlier.

Once the General Affairs Council has discussed the Conference on the future of Europe on 28 January, we will be able to move to the next phase, including to determine the date for the start of the conference, ideally in the first half of 2020. And what better date for this than 9 May – Europe day – which is a date of such importance for all of us?

I can already see the potential for a fruitful partnership with the European Parliament, given the priorities we share. In his role as Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations, my colleague Maroš Šefčovič, will join us in this work.

Honourable Members, as directly-elected representatives of the citizens, you are crucial to this process, and I welcome the resolution of this House, as well as your commitment not to pre-determine the outcome of the Conference. I believe that pre-determining the outcome would cause more damage to democracy than if it did nothing at all. So no pre-determining from our side.

Honourable Members, by confirming me in my post as Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, you have shown that you have placed your trust in me. Just as it is important to build trust with the citizens, I want to build trust with you, and I look forward to hearing your views.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Presidente. – Cari colleghi, dopo aver ascoltato Consiglio e Commissione e prima di dare la parola ai presidenti dei gruppi, vorrei fare alcune osservazioni, perché sono diversi mesi che stiamo lavorando su questo progetto della conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa e naturalmente sono molto lieto che oggi ci sia questa discussione e che oggi la plenaria del Parlamento voti la risoluzione che darà il via a questo processo.

Come sapete la conferenza nasce da una richiesta del Parlamento europeo che la Presidente della Commissione von der Leyen ha raccolto nel luglio scorso, dopo le elezioni europee, quando è stato chiaro a tutti che alcuni meccanismi della governance democratica vanno rivisti e risistemati, e naturalmente noi vogliamo – questa è l'opinione di tutto il Parlamento – che ciò venga fatto con le istituzioni nazionali ma soprattutto in un percorso di ascolto dei cittadini.

Credo che la risoluzione che oggi voterà la plenaria sarà l'avvio di una stagione di riforma, non predeterminata, ma certamente di grande impulso perché abbiamo bisogno che la democrazia funzioni e soprattutto che la democrazia si renda utile ai cittadini. Credo che questo sia nell'interesse delle istituzioni europee ma, nel suo insieme, dell'Unione.

Ecco perché vogliamo che questo processo abbia al centro i cittadini. Credo che oggi, per questo Parlamento, sia una giornata, da questo punto di vista, importante e condivisa con tutti i gruppi politici, in un percorso di ascolto, di confronto e di dialogo, naturalmente con tutte le istituzioni europee. Avremo successo se le istituzioni europee sapranno camminare insieme.

Io vi ringrazio e do subito la parola a Manfred Weber, presidente del Partito popolare.

 
  
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  Manfred Weber, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, Madam Vice-President and Council Representative, the starting point for our debate on the conference for the future of Europe is the outcome of the elections last year.

201 million people participated in the European elections. The second largest democracy on the globe. That is the starting point for our debate, so people believe in Europe; people trust in Europe; people want to contribute to the future of Europe.

The key question is now: does my vote count? Does it really have an impact? And there we know an improvement is possible, and that’s why the next decade must be a decade of strengthening European democracy.

What are the principles for the working structure for us as the PPE Group? The first and most important point already mentioned is people’s involvement. So, to find a way to get in touch with the ideas of our citizens to involve them in the process. The second thing is that Parliament is in the lead. That we are the representatives of the citizens. We are representing the political landscape of the European Union of today – geographically, politically, from the content point of view. We are representing a Parliament where we really respect the free mandate in a very, very positive sense. For me as a group leader, it’s always difficult to manage the unity of the group. We have a real free mandate and that’s good, and we have, together with the Commission and Council, a good working relationship.

First of all I want to underline that with Dobrevka as Vice-President responsible for the issue, we really can work very strongly together. And another element for these principles is to involve the national parliaments. All of these issues are agreed, but again, the ‘re-parliamentarisation’ of the European Union is for our group, a key element. That is the working structure and then about the direction.

Democracy is based on two principles – on candidates and on a programme. You have this for a mayor, you have this for a chancellor candidate and for us it’s also important to implement this on a European level for becoming the Commission President, for example. So the old debates on the Spitzenkandidat concept, last year we failed with this idea, it is still our interest as the PPE and we want to make this Spitzenkandidat process a binding process for the upcoming elections on the European level.

We need a healthy competition between the European parties. That means we have to reflect again on the rules for the European political parties, and we have to consider how to strengthen the rights of this institution – the European Parliament – for example on the key issue, the question of right of initiative for the European Parliament, like all other parliaments have.

So that is what must be the direction for the future. More democratic – people decide. That is the best medicine against the anti-Europeans.

And finally, are we really prepared for the challenges of tomorrow? What can we do under the current Treaty, but also, is there a need for a Treaty change? That is another element which we want to discuss during the conference on the future of Europe. So let’s start today, let’s work and let’s have a new dream for Europe.

 
  
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  Iratxe García Pérez, en nombre del Grupo S&D. – Señor presidente, el próximo 9 de mayo se cumplirán setenta años de la Declaración Schuman, que proponía la creación de las primeras Comunidades Europeas. Aquel día comenzaba una aventura política, en el mundo y en la historia. Seis países elegían libremente unir sus destinos para garantizar la paz y mejorar la vida de las personas.

Pero ya decía aquella Declaración que Europa no se haría de una sola vez, sino a lo largo de una evolución constante que debía basarse en la solidaridad. Ahora nos toca a nosotros darle un nuevo empuje para que la Unión Europea sea capaz de garantizar la paz en Europa y en el mundo, y también mejorar la vida de las personas. Hoy en día nuestra Unión se enfrenta a nuevos retos como la emergencia climática, las desigualdades, la digitalización. Pero también, desgraciadamente, los ataques al estado de Derecho, el deterioro de este, y los populismos.

La Conferencia sobre el Futuro de Europa, por ello, es una oportunidad única, que no podemos dejar pasar, para actualizar nuestra Unión mejorando su capacidad de afrontar los retos. Y es también una oportunidad para implicar a la ciudadanía, para escuchar qué espera la gente de Europa y conocer sus propuestas, para que puedan venir también de todos los sectores de la sociedad.

Así fue la primera gran conferencia sobre el futuro de Europa, que se celebró en La Haya en 1948. Por supuesto, hoy tenemos muchos más medios y mecanismos para facilitar la participación de la sociedad civil. Y debemos aprovecharlos. Los Socialistas y Demócratas queremos que este sea un verdadero diálogo con la ciudadanía y que se traduzca en resultados concretos.

Trabajaremos para que haya una amplia participación de toda la sociedad, con un equilibrio de género, de edad y de proveniencia geográfica. Y, además, con todos los niveles de representación: desde lo local a lo europeo. Porque todos tienen algo que aportar. Porque Europa no existe si no existe cada uno de sus pueblos y ciudades, que es donde se aplican al final las políticas que decidimos aquí, en el Parlamento Europeo.

Decía Jean Monnet que no estamos aquí para coaligar Estados, sino para unir a las personas. Algunos parece que no lo tienen claro y siguen empeñados en hablar en clave nacional. No se dan cuenta de que Europa suma. De que juntos somos más fuertes, y de que en un contexto geopolítico cada vez más difícil necesitamos fortalecer nuestro proyecto. Y tampoco estamos aquí para construir un mercado. Queremos construir una comunidad, que es mucho más.

Por eso, es la hora de defender la democracia europea y recordar que debemos mejorar la vida de las personas. Durante demasiado tiempo la Unión ha descuidado el pilar social, y las políticas económicas no han ido acompañadas de medidas sociales. Hemos dejado que crezca la pobreza, y que aumente la desigualdad, y eso solo puede aumentar los populismos.

Hemos dado grandes pasos para avanzar en la Europa de la ciudadanía, y debemos estar orgullosos. El Tratado de Lisboa fortaleció al Parlamento Europeo y, además, ha introducido nuevos instrumentos para la participación ciudadana, pero no es suficiente. Espero que la conferencia sobre el futuro de Europa abra nuevos espacios para enriquecer el debate y para encontrar ideas innovadoras que mejoren nuestra Unión. Debemos perfeccionar el sistema electoral de cara a las próximas elecciones de 2024.

En estos setenta años hemos recorrido un largo camino y, sobre todo, se ha ampliado la familia europea. Empezaron solo seis países y hemos llegado a ser veintiocho. Con gran tristeza despedimos a un miembro, aunque espero que solo sea temporalmente. Veámoslo como una ocasión para repensar el proyecto europeo. Echar la vista atrás para ver el camino recorrido es un ejercicio necesario.

También lo es recordar todo lo que nos une. Pero más importante todavía es ser conscientes de que el futuro está en nuestras manos, de que no podemos caer en la nostalgia, de que cada día estamos construyendo Europa. Esto es una comunidad de destino que nos pertenece a todos y todas, y entre todos y todas debemos marcar el rumbo. Los Socialistas y Demócratas pondremos de nuestra parte para hacer realidad este sueño de Europa.

 
  
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  Dacian Cioloş, au nom du groupe Renew. – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, nous disons souvent à cette tribune que la diversité est un atout de l’Europe. Maintenant, une fois de plus, nous aurons l’occasion de le démontrer. Les élections européennes ont montré que les citoyens européens croient en l’Europe, mais ils veulent une Europe meilleure, différente, une Europe renouvelée. Le premier changement doit être dans la façon d’associer les citoyens à ces processus européens parce que l’Europe n’a pas été créée pour Bruxelles ou pour une élite ou pour une bulle mais pour servir tous les citoyens. La conférence peut devenir une opportunité formidable de renouveler l’Europe si nous avons le courage de sortir de notre mode de pensée procédural et de donner vraiment la parole aux citoyens dans leur diversité.

Pourtant, au cours des années, nous avons souvent laissé se développer le sentiment que l’Europe n’écoute pas, que l’Europe signifie des règles et des contraintes. L’Europe qui construit est souvent cachée derrière des restrictions. La conférence est une chance pour ouvrir les portes de l’Europe aux citoyens et ce n’est pas pour rien que nous avons défendu la date du 9 mai pour son lancement. Nous devons trouver des solutions pour associer de façon régulière les citoyens et pas seulement une fois tous les cinq ans pour les élections.

Bien sûr, j’entends certains États membres qui sont inquiets parce qu’ils ont peur de perdre de leurs responsabilités, mais, j’en suis convaincu, la démocratie participative et la démocratie représentative, à travers le processus parlementaire, sont complémentaires et non pas opposées.

Chers collègues, nous nous donnons deux ans et demi pour présenter des idées qui devraient non seulement rendre le fonctionnement de nos institutions plus efficace et plus lisible, mais également faire en sorte que nos priorités fassent écho aux attentes de ceux qui veulent que l’Europe soit une vraie maison commune. Beaucoup de gens la vivent déjà de cette manière et je pense que nous avons beaucoup à apprendre de leur façon de combiner leurs liens à un territoire et à une culture spécifique mais aussi de ce partage européen puisque l’Europe, c’est les deux à la fois.

C’est la dernière session de nos amis britanniques à Strasbourg cette semaine, et nous venons aussi de célébrer les dix ans du traité de Lisbonne. Je ne fais pas de lien entre les deux évènements, mais il est clair que le temps est venu de rafraîchir l’Europe et de l’adapter aux défis d’aujourd’hui car sans le syndrome de la bulle européenne, l’Europe peut se reconstruire de sa diversité et le Parlement européen doit être le promoteur de cette nouvelle vision.

 
  
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  Daniel Freund, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, I think this debate that we’re having today here is the absolute best going away present for Nigel Farage. For his last plenary, what better idea than to dedicate the prime slot of the week to this conference, what I think is a bit his worst nightmare. So it’s a shame that he hasn’t joined us here today. He would call this the federalist plot, but it’s happening right here in the open. It’s a public debate. It’s a democratic process, and not for some old ideology but because solidarity is stronger than hatred and because cooperation is stronger than nationalism.

While Nigel and the band of lying Brexiteers are driving the UK over the cliff edge, we start a much needed debate on the next steps of European integration, a debate that will lead to a stronger and a more democratic Union and because we think what is needed in a time of climate crisis, of large corporations not paying their taxes, of being squished between a less reliable United States and an ever-stronger China, is not small mindedness, is not national selfishness. We have to unite. We have to cooperate because otherwise we perish, small and alone.

The big challenges of our time we can only face as Europeans, so the proposals that the European Parliament is putting forward today are strong, based on the good examples that we have seen in Ireland, the citizens’ assemblies. Our ambition is to have a grand debate with citizens from all across the European Union, with national parliaments, with the EU institutions. I have to say to my colleagues from the Social Democrats and the Conservatives that it’s not enough to also bring the social partners, Business Europe, to bring European trade unions to the table, but we also have to include European NGOs in in this debate as well.

I know there are risks in this project – having this debate in 24 languages, possibly not breaking out of the Brussels bubble, maybe not delivering the kind of reforms that citizens expect from us, but I think the worst thing we could do is to not even try. So we have seen in the euro and in the migration crisis that we always get stuck when integration is done only half way. So I think the answer that we have to deliver, is that we give the European Union the tools and the competence to actually address the major challenges of our time. Let’s stop letting populists and eurosceptics dominate the debate on European integration. Let’s start building a stronger and truly united Europe today, and let’s take another step towards a European Federal Republic.

 
  
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  Marco Zanni, a nome del gruppo ID. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, mi sembra che sia il Parlamento, dall'inizio di questa legislatura, sia la nuova Commissione abbiano puntato molto sull'organizzazione di questa conferenza, facendo percepire che questo sarà un pilastro del programma dei prossimi cinque anni, un pilastro di una riforma dell'Unione europea di cui, con composizioni e outcome ovviamente diversi, tutti i partiti e tutti i gruppi ravvisano la necessità.

Io però non credo che questo esercizio sia utile a dare risposte a quello che i cittadini ci hanno comunicato in questi anni e soprattutto con le elezioni di maggio. I cittadini non ci hanno chiesto di organizzare conferenze, di organizzare dibattiti, di organizzare agorà, ma sono anni che ci chiedono risposte concrete, che ci chiedono azioni. Allora il problema non è ascoltare i cittadini, sappiamo quello che vogliono, il problema è politico. Il problema è che queste istituzioni non sono state in grado, in questi anni, di dare risposte concrete, di fare politica, di rispondere ai tre grandi problemi che i cittadini europei oggi stanno affrontando, ovvero quello della crisi economica, quello della sicurezza interna e quello dell'immigrazione, che è un tema che a mio avviso manca anche nella risoluzione del Parlamento e che non può essere ignorato.

Io credo che questo tipo di esercizio possa aver senso se, prima di fare proposte, quest'Aula e queste istituzioni saranno in grado di fare una profonda autocritica su quello che hanno sbagliato in questi anni, perché di errori ne sono stati commessi e sono stati errori gravi, che hanno portato il continente a sprofondare, a non contare più nulla sullo scenario politico internazionale.

Se non capiamo che le riforme e la politica portata avanti negli ultimi vent'anni non hanno fatto altro che indebolire gli Stati, indebolire il nostro continente, rendere i nostri cittadini più poveri, qualsiasi proposta che andremo a discutere sarà solo un esercizio di marketing che non avrà nessun senso.

Io credo che l'obiettivo sia capire dove si è sbagliato (e purtroppo le istituzioni, ancora oggi, non hanno fatto una profonda autocritica), capire che, al contrario di quanto diceva il mio collega dei Verdi, il tema non è creare uno Stato federale – quello che non vogliono i cittadini, quello su cui i cittadini, quando sono stati chiamati a esprimersi, si sono sempre detti contrari – ma che si debba ripartire dalle nostre identità, che si debba ripartire dalla consapevolezza che senza gli Stati, senza le nostre nazioni, senza i nostri popoli, l'Europa non esiste.

 
  
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  Ryszard Antoni Legutko, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, I will be talking about the resolution that will be coming from this Chamber and my main point is that everything in this resolution is wrong. It is wrong because Article 48(4) of the Treaty on the European Union states clearly that it is the Council, not Parliament or the Commission, that can convene such a conference. I know that the attitude of this Chamber and of the Commission towards the Treaties has been consistently rather cavalier, but let us at least remember that we are deviating from what the Treaties have stipulated. So the attitude is that the aim justifies the means, the aim being ever closer union justifies the means, even distraining and ignoring the letter and the spirit of the Treaties.

It is wrong because the whole procedure to produce this document was a disgrace. The Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) excluded two Groups from serious involvement in drafting its opinion and fixed the voting list in advance. Five Groups prepared the document in secret and excluded two Groups from having any input in the draft text. In case you don’t know, ladies and gentlemen, this is foul play. This is the tyranny of the majority. This is foul play. It is wrong because it gives the European Parliament the leading role in the process to the detriment of national parliaments, and the democratic legitimacy of national parliaments is far, far greater than that of the European Parliament.

It is wrong because it gives the real power of the conference into the hands of an inner cabal, called the board, which will no doubt include only the representatives of the five political groups. So you have the tyranny of the majority again. It is wrong because it has a predetermined outcome as we have heard this morning. The conference is simply regarded as a springboard for the next great leap forward in European integration, including a transnationalist spitzenkandidat process and greater competences for the Union at the expense of the Member States, so do not talk about consultation. This will be fake consultations because the aim is already specified. It does not really require much intelligence to predict that all this will exacerbate the divisions in Europe, which are already quite deep and disconcerting. But we should not be surprised. The advocates of ever closer union have always been very good at antagonising people. It is said that human beings learn from mistakes. Maybe they do, but apparently most Members of the European Parliament don’t.

 
  
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  Manon Aubry, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, depuis plus d’un mois, les Français manifestent contre la casse de leur retraite. Hier, 1 200 médecins ont remis leur démission pour dénoncer l’état de délabrement général de nos hôpitaux français.

Partout en Europe, les citoyens se mobilisent contre les conséquences de l’austérité, inscrite au cœur des traités de l’Union européenne. Partout, ils refusent cet avenir individualiste où les systèmes de solidarité sont brisés un à un. La conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe aurait dû répondre à cette formidable envie de changement. Malheureusement, c’est une procédure rabougrie qui nous est proposée à ce stade, tant sur les objectifs que sur la méthode.

Sur les objectifs, l’Union ne peut se contenter d’un ravalement de façade cosmétique. C’est tout l’édifice qui menace actuellement de s’effondrer et c’est donc toute son architecture qu’il faut repenser, c’est-à-dire qu’il faut oser nommer les choses: changer en profondeur les traités de l’Union européenne. Pourquoi ne pas renommer d’ailleurs cette conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe en conférence sur le changement des traités européens? Le chantier est immense et on ne pourra pas passer à côté si on veut mettre en œuvre un véritable pacte vert européen, social et écologique. Sortir de la logique du libre-échange, privilégier un pacte de progrès solidaire et durable plutôt que de croissance et de compétitivité, faire l’harmonisation sociale par le haut plutôt que le dumping généralisé.

Sur la méthode, rien ne serait plus désastreux qu’une nouvelle usine à gaz faussement démocratique. Le Parlement doit être le seul chef de file, pas la Commission, qui n’a aucune légitimité populaire pour le faire. Qui peut penser que des agoras de citoyens, composées de deux à trois personnes maximum par État membre et sans réel pouvoir d’impulsion sont suffisantes pour garantir une participation effective des citoyens? Qui peut penser qu’on peut regagner la confiance des citoyens et des peuples européens dans les institutions sans entériner les résultats des consultations par référendum ou procédure équivalente? N’apprenons-nous pas de nos échecs? Pourquoi répéter l’erreur de la convention sur l’avenir de l’Europe en 2002, qui a débouché sur l’adoption malheureuse du traité de Lisbonne contre les volontés des peuples européens exprimées par référendum? Depuis des années, la peur du peuple et le mépris de la volonté des citoyens ébranlent l’édifice européen. Il faut répondre à la défiance grandissante envers les institutions européennes en assumant de remettre en cause les règles du jeu. Derrière son titre grandiloquent, la conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe risque à ce stade d’accoucher d’une souris. Ce n’est pas ce que nous voulons, au nom de notre groupe de la Gauche unitaire européenne. Les citoyens européens méritent mieux: une réforme profonde et radicale au service des peuples et de la planète, s’appuyant sur un véritable processus participatif. Ne gâchons pas une nouvelle fois l’occasion de redonner du sens à l’idéal initial du projet européen.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissaria, quest'anno finalmente avremo la possibilità di ricominciare quel serio dibattito su quel cambiamento che, come forza politica, abbiamo tanto richiesto negli ultimi anni.

Tenendo bene a mente il monito amaro, oserei dire traumatico, della Brexit, dobbiamo approfittare di questa preziosa occasione non solo per discutere la nuova agenda europea ma soprattutto per sbloccare le riforme più ambiziose: il pilastro sociale, l'unione fiscale, una gestione veramente solidale dell'immigrazione. Rilanciando, se serve, anche lo strumento della cooperazione rafforzata, ancora poco esplorata, evitando però la farraginosità di un'Europa a troppe velocità.

Non possiamo permettere che venga esclusa a priori la possibilità che questa conferenza porti anche una riforma dei trattati e delle istituzioni, a partire dall'introduzione del diritto di iniziativa per il nostro Parlamento. I cittadini devono essere i veri protagonisti di questo processo e noi, come Parlamento, dobbiamo essere in prima linea nel difendere la loro partecipazione, la loro voce, i loro sogni e le loro speranze.

Colleghi, permettetemi un monito chiaro. Questa conferenza non può e non deve essere un mero esercizio di stile, una foglia di fico mediatica: troppo tempo è già trascorso invano, l'ascesa dell'antieuropeismo è proprio la conseguenza di questa ingiustificabile inerzia.

Il mondo di oggi è pervaso da tre sentimenti: la rabbia, la paura e la speranza. Quale delle tre prevarrà dipenderà solo ed esclusivamente da noi.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Mr President, I would like to say that, 10 years after the Lisbon Treaty, it is really time to prepare our Union for the next decade. We need a very, very deep and broad debate and discussion to prepare our institutions and to prepare our Union for the challenge of the future. This is the scope and the reason for organising this conference. What is really different is that this time, we want to use in the preparation all the skills and all the tools that we have available to engage citizens in this debate. This is our goal. But this is what we call participative democracy, this is true. But, be careful: we don’t want to mix participative democracy with representative democracy. One thing is to listen and to consult citizens, to engage them, to bring them committed to our debate. Another thing is institutional representation, with all the liberal heavy touch from our rule—of—law states and we should keep these two spheres very clearly separated, even if we have to engage in this project in a manner that we can use all the impulse that citizens will give us. So, my hope is that we can, for the first time, have a process of reform of the European Union where citizens are really heard and where their opinion matters.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MAIREAD McGUINNESS
Vice-President

 
  
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  Gabriele Bischoff (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin! Die letzten Jahre hier waren geprägt von Krisendebatten, von Brexit, von lauter werdenden Stimmen der Euroskeptiker und der Rechtspopulisten – nicht nur in diesem Haus. Die höhere Beteiligung bei der Europawahl im Mai letzten Jahres war ein erster Schritt aus dieser Negativspirale. Die Bürgerinnen und Bürger haben durch ihre hohe Wahlbeteiligung deutlich gemacht, dass sie ein Interesse an Europa haben, dass ihnen Europa nicht egal ist. Aber sie haben auch damit ihre Erwartungen an ein handlungsfähiges Europa bekundet. Diese Wahlbeteiligung war kein Automatismus, sondern breite Bündnisse, eine aktive Zivilgesellschaft haben dazu beigetragen, dass es diesmal anders war als bei den anderen Europawahlen.

Die Bürgerinnen und Bürger wollen eine handlungsfähige Union, eine EU, die sie schützt und die sie stärkt. Deshalb ist es wichtig, dass wir mit dieser Konferenz endlich den Blick nach vorne richten, dass wir einen Aufbruch wagen. Aber das wird nur gelingen, wenn wir es richtig machen, wenn wir es richtig und mutig anpacken. Deshalb darf diese Konferenz keine Routineangelegenheit sein, kein business as usual. Wir müssen den Mut haben, aus unserer Komfortzone herauszugehen. Wir müssen dahin gehen, wo die Menschen sind, wo die sind, die sich abgehängt fühlen. Das heißt auch: heraus aus den Hauptstädten, hinein in die ländlichen Regionen, hin zu den Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmern, zu den Arbeitslosen, zu den Jugendlichen, zu denen, die Europa kritisch sehen, denen Europa nicht unbedingt ein wichtiges Projekt ist.

Deshalb ist es wichtig, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger direkten Einfluss nehmen können – von Beginn an und nicht erst am Ende Ja oder Nein sagen können, wenn alles schon eingetütet ist. Deshalb haben wir deutlich gemacht: Wir sehen in dieser Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas eine große Chance. Wir haben ein institutionelles Plenum, wo auch Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der Zivilgesellschaft mit dem Europäischen Wirtschafts- und Sozialausschuss als Haus der Zivilgesellschaft vertreten sind, wo aber auch der Ausschuss der Regionen da ist. Denn wir brauchen die Bürgermeister, wir brauchen die Landräte, wenn wir diese Debatten wirklich in die Breite zu den Menschen führen wollen.

Deshalb bin ich froh und hoffe und plädiere dafür, dass wir den Mut haben, die ausgetretenen Pfade zu verlassen und etwas Neues zu wagen – zusammen –, um Europa demokratischer, sozialer und handlungsfähiger zu machen.

 
  
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  Guy Verhofstadt (Renew). – Madam President, let’s give a common conclusion here. That is that, for the first time – nearly 20 years, I think, after the start of the Convention, the three institutions agree again on the necessity for an in-depth reform of the European Union. This is already an important fact because it is 20 years after the start of the previous Convention and, for the first time, these three institutions say, ‘OK, an in—depth reform of the Union is absolutely needed’. I will not contradict or have a debate with Mr Legutko because, in the meanwhile, he is no longer here in the plenary.

The reason why we want this Conference is because there are problems that we recognise in the European Union. When we have Brexit, a big country that is leaving the European Union, it’s difficult to say, ‘Oh, fantastic, we work well’. No, it’s a problem. We have a problem when a big country is leaving the Union and when, five years after the start of the migration crisis, we still don’t have a reform of the Dublin Regulation. We have a problem in the European Union when, ten years after the outbreak of the financial crisis, we still do not have a banking union in the European Union. We have a problem. And when Russians and Americans are deciding everything in our neighbourhood – in Syria and in Libya and in Ukraine – well, we have a problem. In fact, the reality is that, on the international stage, we are mocked by Putin, we are blackmailed by Erdoğan, we are bullied by Trump, and mostly we are ignored by the Chinese Government.

That’s the reason why we want to reform Europe; not because we say ‘we are Europeans and everything is going well’, and it’s over. No, tomorrow it will be a different world tomorrow, dominated by what I call empires, like China, like India, like Russia, like America. That doesn’t mean that we have to become an empire – on the contrary – but we want to defend a Europe in which our children and grandchildren can survive in this new world, which is not the case today.

We have to do it with a new method, not like in the Convention. In the Convention it went from the top down and at the top, with Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the top was something very impressive and present. We have to do exactly the opposite, not in contradiction, but from the bottom up – going up from the citizens so that we can create. After the generation of Monnet and Schuman and after the generation of Kohl and Mitterrand, we need a third movement, a third movement with, I would say, the vision of the first and with the courage of the second generation.

(Applause)

(The speaker agreed to take two blue-card questions under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  President. – Mr Rowland, you are lucky today!

 
  
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  Robert Rowland (NI), blue-card question. – I do feel lucky with you, Madam President. Mr Verhofstadt, we’re talking about the future of Europe, but one of the key concerns of mine for Europe, and for your future, is your dependence on your geopolitical foe. You mentioned Russia and Putin, but recently the Nord Stream 2 channel pipeline, which will bring gas from Russia into Europe, was completed with the Denmark signing of a further EUR 150 million to complete that. Do you agree with me that Europe has no chance to be energy-independent while it is still reliant on Russia?

 
  
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  Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE), blue-card question. – Mr Verhofstadt, you said that you want to enable a bottom—up approach. So, there are some rumours going on that certain parties already agreed on who should be leading the conference and your name was mentioned on that as well, so I wanted to know from you, presented right now here, that those rumours are not true and that the conference itself should decide on who leads the conference.

 
  
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  Guy Verhofstadt (Renew), blue-card answer. – It seems to be a good idea to have a democratic process during this. Let’s consult all the citizens in Europe like we did during the elections. That seems to me the best thing to do. Maybe we can ask Mr Sassoli to organise that procedure and maybe I’m a candidate to do that.

To our British friends, I want to say on Nord Stream – that is a good point that has been made, but Nord Stream is proof of what? It is proof of a lack of European Union, it is proof of the fact that a European energy community does not exist in Europe. So if really those people, like those in the Brexit Party, are anxious about Nord Stream, well, they should create the energy community we desperately need and as fast as possible, colleagues.

 
  
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  Christian Allard (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I would like to talk about not only the problems, what are the opportunities and what are the solutions we could find for the future of Europe. This conference on the future of Europe is a timely democratic exercise. As you heard already if Brexit was about the EU, it was to mute the progressive agenda of the European project.

When the people of Scotland voted to remain in Europe we meant it. Trust us to continue and to promote outward looking, internationalist European values. Those values are firmly at the heart of our vision for Scotland. This conference is needed because we are under attack. We are under a populist attack. Politics doesn’t stand still. We either go forward or we go backwards. This conference is the way forward for all Member States, including future Member States. Scotland is a future Member State. No doubt about it.

Let’s start by Scotland then other parts of the United Kingdom will follow. Voltaire said a long time ago, we look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation. One innovative idea we have developed in Scotland, is to enshrine into law the democratic participation of all people living in Scotland, wherever they come from, whatever their nationality. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to also include the contribution of all the people living in Europe to this conference, not only EU citizens.

In Scotland our devolved institutions are based on European laws. The foundation of modern Scotland comes from the EU. Scotland is looking forward to contribute to the debate as a future Member State of the European Union.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Gunnar Beck (ID). – Madam President, in 2000, the EU launched its Lisbon agenda to make the EU ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010’. As 2010 was approaching references to the agenda were expunged from EU websites and the plan was renamed the Europe 2020 strategy. 2020 has arrived and the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy, maybe as a moral champion of the world, but it also enjoys the highest consumer income and corporate taxes in the developed world, high unemployment and the lowest growth apart from Japan. For the most integrated countries of the eurozone, economic data are even worse than for the more sensible non-euro EU Members.

The Commission president now proposes a conference on the future of Europe to make the EU more democratic. She mentions an economy for the people. Yet also proposes more taxes and an EU Green Deal for EUR one trillion plus, when EU influence on world climate is minimal. In the name of Europe’s way of life, she’s advocating more non-European immigration to make Europe less European by the day. EU democracy is democracy, neither for nor by the European peoples. Sigmund Freud spoke of ‘Flucht in die Krankheit’ or ‘escape into illness’ to describe a neurotic avoidance of an unsatisfactory reality. Rather than face the struggle to regain health, the neurotic patient is secretly desiring to remain ill. Is there a better diagnosis of the EU today? Faced with a menacing economic truth, the EU Commission is reaching for a narcotic overdose of EU integration to take an extended holiday from reality.

 
  
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  Zdzisław Krasnodębski (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Przyszłość Europy to nie to samo co przyszłości Unii Europejskiej. Europa istniała zanim powstała Unia –powinniśmy o tym pamiętać – i prawdopodobnie będzie istniała nadal, nawet jeśli Unia przestanie istnieć lub zmieni się w jakąś inną formę współpracy politycznej między narodami europejskimi. Nie ulega jednak wątpliwości, że pamiętając o tej różnicy należy zastanawiać się nad przyszłością i Unii i Europy. Taka dyskusja jest potrzebna, gdyż z jednej strony mnożą się głosy wybitnych myślicieli, zarówno konserwatywnych, jak i lewicowych, że cywilizacja europejska znajduje się w stanie krytycznym, nawet schyłkowym. Z drugiej strony mamy poczucie, że również Unia Europejska wymaga reformy. Jesteśmy za dyskusją otwartą, uczciwą, nie wykluczającą osób o odmiennym zdaniu, na przykład przeciwników dalszej integracji, nie przesądzającą z góry o kierunku proponowanych zmian. Nie możemy dzielić (tak jak niektórzy koledzy, którzy mówią o republice europejskiej) obywateli Europy na złych i dobrych Europejczyków.

Zgadzamy się także co do tego, że do debaty o przyszłości Europy Unii należy włączyć obywateli, jednak wiemy, że nie ma jednej europejskiej sfery publicznej, dlatego powinno się to toczyć na poziomie narodowym. Uważamy również, że dyskusje obywatelskie nie mogą zastąpić debat parlamentów i powinny mieć tylko charakter konsultacji społecznych. Przypominamy też, że zmiana traktatów może się odbyć jedynie zgodnie z art. 48 Traktatu o Unii Europejskiej.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL). – Frau Präsidentin! Die Kommission hat dem Europäischen Parlament eine Führungsrolle in diesem auf zwei Jahre angelegten Debattenraum eingeräumt. Das ist gut so! Und mit der heutigen Entschließung legt das Parlament dem EU-Rat, der Kommission und der europäischen Öffentlichkeit einen konkreten Vorschlag zu Ansatz, Zielen, Formen und Methoden vor, wie gemeinsam mit allen Bürgerinnen und Bürgern eine Neubestimmung europäischer Politik zur Bewältigung so vieler Zukunftsherausforderungen als auch der Alltagsprobleme erfolgen kann.

Nach Jahren schmerzhafter Krisenerfahrung und den Versuchen der Bewältigung gilt es, gemeinsam zu bestimmen, welche Art der EU wir wollen und brauchen, was verändert oder neu erarbeitet werden muss. Ich halte den Kernansatz des Parlaments für überaus wichtig und richtig, von Anbeginn den Souverän, die Bürgerinnen und Bürger, in den Mittelpunkt der Konferenz zu stellen und auf sehr innovative Weise repräsentative Demokratie und die Teilhabe der Bürgerinnen und Bürger am Bestimmen des künftigen Rahmens für EU-Politik in einem permanenten Dialogprozess aufs Engste miteinander zu verzahnen.

Ja, eine Konferenz über die Zukunft der EU heißt zuallererst, den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern mit ihren Wünschen, Erwartungen und Forderungen an die EU Gehör zu verschaffen. Sie selbst sollen entscheiden, welche Themen in Angriff genommen werden müssen, um demokratische Defizite zu beseitigen, neue politische Strategien zu erarbeiten und die Alltagstauglichkeit der Politik auf EU- und nationaler Ebene auf den Prüfstand zu stellen.

Liebe Vertreterinnen und Vertreter von ID und ECR, warum haben Sie Angst vor Bürgerinnen und Bürgern, die ein solidarisches Miteinander auf dem europäischen Kontinent schaffen wollen? Dazu brauchen wir Transparenz und das Nutzen der heutigen modernen Kommunikationsmöglichkeiten. Auch deshalb wird die Konferenz über den Konvent hinausgehen müssen.

 
  
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  Κώστας Παπαδάκης (NI). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, αλήθεια, από πού και ως πού μιλάτε για το μέλλον της Ευρώπης ταυτίζοντάς το με το μέλλον της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, μιας Ένωσης των μονοπωλίων, την οποία κάποιοι πρόβαλαν κάποτε ως αιώνια, ως νομοτέλεια; Σήμερα καταγράφονται Μπρέξιτ, φυγόκεντρες τάσεις και αντιθέσεις, ενώ στα ίδια τα κείμενά σας ανησυχείτε για την αναιμική καπιταλιστική ανάκαμψη. Μεθοδεύετε μια χρυσοπληρωμένη εκστρατεία πλύσης εγκεφάλου, προκλητικού εξωραϊσμού της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, χειραγώγησης και αντικομμουνισμού, επιχειρώντας να αναχαιτίσετε την εντεινόμενη αμφισβήτηση και έλλειψη εμπιστοσύνης των λαών και της νεολαίας σε αυτήν.

Στήνονται διασκέψεις, δήθεν λαϊκής συμμετοχής, με επιχειρηματικούς ομίλους, ΜΚΟ, λόμπι και εργατοπατέρες. Αντίθετα από ό,τι ισχυρίζεται και η Ομάδα GUE, που συνυπογράφει το σχετικό ψήφισμα ως γνήσιος απολογητής της, η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση ούτε αλλάζει ούτε, όπως ισχυρίζονται οι ακροδεξιοί, κάνει λάθη. Υπηρετεί ανεπίστρεπτα το εκμεταλλευτικό σύστημα, είναι αντίπαλος των εργατικών λαϊκών συμφερόντων, διαρκής υπονομευτής της υπεράσπισης συνόρων και κυριαρχικών δικαιωμάτων. Οι λαοί μπορούν να χαράξουν το δικό τους μέλλον με αποδέσμευση από την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, με τον λαό στην εξουσία, για την Ευρώπη του σοσιαλισμού.

 
  
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  Esteban González Pons (PPE). – Señora presidenta, la Unión Europea, queridos colegas, no es fruto de la casualidad, sino un proyecto de paz frente a los horrores de la guerra. Somos la primera generación que no ha sufrido la guerra y somos una generación que ha olvidado la guerra. La Unión Europea hoy es un proceso de paz que se ha detenido y empieza a dar marcha atrás. Europa fue un sueño, pero hoy es una realidad insatisfactoria.

Deberíamos reconstruir el sueño, pero vivimos tiempos en que los políticos no tenemos legitimidad para soñar. Y a los políticos en estos tiempos nos sobran palabras vacías y eslóganes. Por ejemplo, distinguimos entre nosotros y los ciudadanos para dar la impresión de que somos próximos al pueblo, cuando los ciudadanos son los que nos han elegido, cuando en campaña electoral hemos estado hablando con los ciudadanos, cuando nosotros mismos somos ciudadanos y, si no, ¿qué hacemos en este Parlamento? Las asambleas de ciudadanos paralelas a los parlamentos lo único que hacen es deslegitimar a los parlamentos.

Europa no necesita políticos que sueñen. Europa necesita políticos que crean. Políticos que crean en una Unión Europea sin nacionalismos, sin fronteras, sin discriminaciones; que crean que Europa no es solo el Consejo Europeo; que crean que juntos somos mejores; que crean en una Europa federal. Hoy decidimos cómo vamos a trabajar, pero queda por decidir adónde vamos y eso es lo que de verdad importa. En qué Europa creemos, no con qué Europa soñamos.

(El orador acepta responder a una pregunta formulada con arreglo al procedimiento de la «tarjeta azul» (artículo 171, apartado 8, del Reglamento interno))

 
  
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  Patrick Breyer (Verts/ALE), blue-card question. – Dear colleague, you said that you don’t want the EU Parliament to be delegitimised by Parliament representation. Do you know the concept of a fundamental treaty of society as laid out by Mr Rousseau The idea that citizens will agree on the kind of government that they want. And do you think that this idea is a threat to representative institutions or would you rather agree that we are elected to represent citizens when they want us to?

 
  
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  Esteban González Pons (PPE), respuesta de «tarjeta azul». – Yo creo en el mandato representativo. Yo creo en el mandato representativo. Entiendo que el Consejo y la Comisión consulten a los ciudadanos porque no son Parlamentos, pero me parece que hay una cierta contradicción en que unos parlamentarios elegidos solo hace seis meses por el pueblo necesiten consultar nada al pueblo.

 
  
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  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D). – Madam President, first of all, I would like to say to our colleagues from the Far right that come to this Chamber every day to tell us what the citizens think, believe, and to tell the rest of us that we are mistaken. But the truth is that you only represent 20 or 25% of the European people. It is the pro-European groups, the ones that support this resolution, that represent more than 70-75% of the vote in the last European election, so let’s set the record straight on this matter.

(Applause)

Second of all. It’s 10 years after the Lisbon Treaty entered into force. And if you look at the world now, some others have already said it, it is totally different from the world of 2009. At that time we didn’t have Brexit; we didn’t have the Arab Spring; we didn’t have Trump as President of the United States; we didn’t have the immigration flows. So unlike some other colleagues that mention Freud and narcotization, we do live in reality. The issue is that you don’t recognise reality, the external pressures that as Europeans we are facing and that we have to react with this conference on the future of Europe, that I think has to lead us, because the world is there and we cannot ignore it, towards a political union of a federal sort.

But we are going to do this with the citizens – in a conversation with the citizens and with organised civil society. It’s very important that we ensure the participation as well of the organised civil society. I think that we can achieve the maximum implication of ordinary citizens and NGOs in this process, national parliamentarians, and then come up with a set of answers to the policy challenges that we are facing and we cannot ignore. And when we have identified these policy challenges, then we can also provide the right institutional answers.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  Bogdan Rzońca (ECR), pytanie zadane przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki. – Traktat z Maastricht z 1992 roku przewidywał Unię Obywatelską. Dlaczego przez tyle lat nie udało się zrealizować tego szlachetnego celu? Może poda Pan choć jeden powód.

 
  
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  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D), blue-card answer. – I didn’t understand the question. The ‘Civic Union’ – what does it mean?

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  President. – Perhaps you could get together afterwards and resolve that issue? And because the lady at No 29 has asked very nicely for a second question, will you accept – you may understand this one?

 
  
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  Lara Wolters (S&D), blue-card question. – I’m just enjoying the way this debate is going at the moment, really. I’m enjoying the blue cards because for the first time, I feel like we’re having an actual debate here (applause) and I think that’s very, very necessary when we’re talking about the future of Europe. I just thought I would take the opportunity to give some of my time back to my colleague from the S&D who, very importantly, talked about the involvement of citizens and of NGOs in the future of Europe, and the conference on that. That’s a really important topic, so I thought that by doing this, I can give him a little bit more time to talk about that.

 
  
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  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D), blue-card answer. – I believe in representative democracy, as my colleague González Pons said before, but I don’t see any contradiction with having a permanent consultation with citizens. As elected representatives, we have to be in touch with ordinary citizens and NGOs every single day, and we also have to do this in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. – At this point, because we have over 16 catch-the-eye requests, I will now close catch-the-eye. I will try and continue with the blue cards, as has been referenced.

 
  
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  Pascal Durand (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, je crois que vous avez entendu la position du Parlement: elle est quasiment unanime sur la nécessité de réussir cette conférence de l’Europe.

C’est un élément nouveau qui s’inscrit dans un débat souvent trop institutionnel et nous avons là une opportunité extrêmement forte. Madame Šuica, je voudrais rebondir sur un mot que vous avez utilisé et qui fait écho au français que je suis, vous avez parlé du mot «audace» et vous savez que c’est une phrase que le révolutionnaire Danton avait citée au moment où la France était en danger en disant: «De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace». Eh oui, c’est le moment. L’Europe est en danger, cela a été dit et expliqué, nous sommes vraisemblablement à un carrefour.

Hier, nous parlions du Brexit et d’autres dangers sont devant nous. Sir Winston Churchill disait il y a 70 ans, place Kléber, à la sortie de la guerre, que grands étaient les dangers qui se dressaient devant l’Europe, mais que grande était sa force et qu’il faut qu’elle en ait conscience. Alors c’est vers vous, Madame Šuica, que je me tourne, c’est vers le Conseil. Et je vais tout simplement me baser sur une phrase de Jean Monnet, qui disait lorsque l’Europe a été créée: l’Europe n’est pas là pour coaliser des États, elle est là pour relier des êtres humains entre eux et c’est le moment où nous nous trouvons aujourd’hui. Je regarde donc avec à la fois inquiétude mais aussi avec espérance le Conseil. Je vous regarde, Madame Šuica, et je regarde la Commission. Et je vous demande, au nom de cette institution, qui représente les citoyens et les citoyennes européens, au nom des ONG, qui frappent à la porte de ces institutions, au nom de la société civile, de ne pas gâcher cette opportunité de nous faire enfin travailler ensemble avec la totalité de ceux qui représentent la citoyenneté européenne. Nous devons réussir ensemble ou nous échouerons les uns sans les autres.

(L’orateur accepte de répondre à une question «carton bleu» (article 171, paragraphe 8, du règlement intérieur)

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI), question «carton bleu». – Chers collègues, très cher Pascal, on a beaucoup travaillé ensemble sur beaucoup de dossiers dans les années passées. J’ai beaucoup apprécié votre discours et je vous pose une question.

On a lu que cette conférence ne pourrait peut-être pas entraîner une réforme des traités. Pensez-vous, comme moi, qu’on devrait justement profiter de cette occasion pour discuter d’une possible réforme du traité? Pour pousser au sein de cette conférence dans ce sens? Pour mettre fin aussi à un certain déséquilibre dans les institutions qu’il est vraiment nécessaire de corriger?

 
  
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  Pascal Durand (Renew), réponse «carton bleu». – Merci beaucoup cher Fabio, je vais répondre tout simplement en ayant écouté ce qu’ont dit le Conseil, la Commission et Mme Šuica. Nous ne devons rien préempter, nous ne devons rien nous interdire, nous devons tout simplement essayer de mettre en place le dialogue nécessaire aux solutions. Nous savons qu’il y a des blocages en Europe, nous savons que nous pouvons les dépasser: alors faisons-le, n’ayons pas peur, – je reprends le mot –, ayons de l’audace, n’ayons pas peur des citoyens européens, n’ayons pas peur du dialogue et essayons de réformer, effectivement, ce qui doit l’être.

 
  
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  Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Verts/ALE). – Madame la Présidente, nous étudions ce texte sur la conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe.

En ce mois de janvier 2020, cela a été dit, c’est le dernier mois de nos collègues britanniques au sein de cette assemblée européenne. Nous vivons donc dans ce Parlement les premiers effets du Brexit et le départ du premier des 28 États membres. Nous espérons que ce sera le seul départ, mais qu’en savons-nous? Avions-nous véritablement pensé, il y a dix ans, que ce premier risque de dislocation était possible?

Lors de cette session parlementaire, nous allons aussi étudier et voter une résolution qui rappelle le déclenchement de l’article 7 par la Commission et le Parlement à l’encontre de deux gouvernements des États membres: la Pologne et la Hongrie, suite à de graves violations de l’état de droit. Nous semblons être figés depuis deux ans, sans véritable capacité à réagir face à ces menaces pour notre projet européen. L’Union européenne est donc dans un moment critique.

Cette idée d’une conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe est une initiative nécessaire et remarquable: on peut féliciter la présidente de la Commission et les commissaires de la soutenir. Mais surtout, le fait que le Parlement européen s’en soit emparée avec autant de détermination et une relative part d’audace est aussi prometteur. Soyons toutefois lucides: si cette conférence est un échec, nous en porterons tous la responsabilité: Conseil, Commission et Parlement. Et cela pourrait être une étape de plus vers la fin d’une Union européenne cohérente garante des droits et toujours plus inclusive.

Conservateurs et sociaux-démocrates, nombre d’entre eux veulent freiner la participation des citoyens. Nous considérons que cela serait une erreur majeure. Nous, parlementaires européens, travaillons ici dans des conditions très privilégiées. Si nous ne permettons pas aux citoyens impliqués d’avoir des conditions semblables, nous nous moquons d’eux. De bons exemples d’assemblées citoyennes en Irlande, en France et dans des régions d’Allemagne doivent nous inspirer. Mon collègue Daniel Freund l’a déjà mentionné. Du temps de travail conséquent, des réunions régulières, des informations pour qu’ils puissent débattre en connaissance de cause, une organisation technique pour les accompagner, cela aura un coût. Intéresser réellement les citoyens et donner un sens collectif à cette conférence ne pourra pas se faire sans et à la fin du processus, les citoyens... (la Présidente retire la parole à l’oratrice)

 
  
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  Gerolf Annemans (ID). – Voorzitter, laat ons hier vandaag niet rond de pot draaien. Deze grote conferentie over de toekomst van de Europese Unie is ofwel bedoeld om het verzet tegen altijd maar meer overheveling van nationale soevereiniteit naar de Europese Unie een kans te geven, een debat dat open is en oprecht en dat voeling heeft met wat er de laatste jaren overal in Europa uit alle verkiezingen naar boven is gekomen, namelijk minder Europese Unie en meer voorzichtigheid en vrijheid inzake Europese samenwerking. Ofwel is het een forum, een theatervoorstelling à la het grote debat van Macron waar dat verzet juist opzijgezet wordt en onzichtbaar wordt gemaakt.

Onze vrees is dat laatste, en de meerderheid die hier vandaag een resolutie opdringt, heeft op drie plaatsen in de tekst uitdrukkelijk en ondanks onze amendementen laten opnemen dat de EU, meer nog dan vandaag, principieel zelfs, een ever closer Union moet worden. Daardoor wordt uw conferentie in plaats van een debat met het volk een theatervoorstelling, duur en nutteloos, enkel en alleen gewijd aan uw federalistische staatsgodsdienst van steeds meer bevoegdheden. U zou uzelf moeten schamen.

 
  
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  Geert Bourgeois (ECR). – Voorzitter, de werking van de Europese Unie is gebaseerd op de representatieve democratie. Dat betekent dat er twee legitieme vertegenwoordigers zijn van de burgers. Dat zijn de nationale parlementen en dat is dit Parlement. En het is goed om te luisteren naar de burgers, naar de ngo’s, naar allerhande organisaties, maar ze zijn nooit representatief. Wat de burgers willen, is politici die keuzes maken, politici die durven te beslissen en die daar verantwoording over afleggen.

Ten tweede, de EU is gebaseerd op de principes van proportionaliteit. Dit werkt in beide richtingen, en we doen dingen samen als dat een meerwaarde biedt. Zo niet, dan houden we dat op het niveau van de lidstaten. Dus méér interne markt, méér mondiale actor, méér grensbewaker, maar géén werkloosheidsuitkeringen, géén minimumlonen: dat is een nationale bevoegdheid.

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). – Senhora Presidente, aqueles que mandam na União Europeia para continuarem a fazer aquilo que sempre fizeram precisam, pelo menos, de fingir que ouvem aquilo que dizem os povos da Europa – bem podia ser este o lema desta farsa.

Os mesmos que aprovaram tratados nas costas dos cidadãos, os mesmo que proibiram referendos quando os resultados se tornaram inconvenientes, os mesmos que desrespeitaram o resultado de referendos, aparecem agora muito interessados em ouvir a opinião dos cidadãos num processo formatado com conclusões tiradas à partida.

Estamos aqui para discutir o futuro da Europa, sim, e por isso recusamos esta farsa. Estamos aqui para discutir o futuro da Europa, mas sem encenações que pretendem esconder conclusões tiradas à partida. Estamos aqui, sobretudo, para lutar por uma outra Europa, não a Europa neoliberal das multinacionais e dos grupos económicos, mas a Europa dos trabalhadores e dos povos. Não uma Europa militarizada, mas uma Europa de paz. Não uma Europa das imposições dos mais poderosos aos menos poderosos, mas uma Europa de Estados soberanos iguais em direitos.

Estamos aqui para discutir a Europa, e sobretudo estamos aqui para transformar esta Europa.

 
  
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  Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI). – Madam President, when we ask ourselves about the future of Europe, the first thing to solve is what role we should give to citizens. If we don’t solve this, in a few years, with other MEPs, the same debate will have to take place and it will be a defeat. Do we want citizens to be uninterested, passive and distant or, on the contrary, do we want their voice to really count and for them to be able to participate directly in European democracy? I don’t refer only to the elections of Members and senior positions, but to habilitate a mechanism in order to participate in debates and decision—taking. We must update the governance of our democracy. The dissatisfaction that runs through Europe only benefits Europhobic populism. There is a real basis that justifies this dissatisfaction. The alternative cannot be the temptation of Euroscepticism. The future of Europe is not for conformists or sceptics, but exigencies.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  Dolors Montserrat (PPE), pregunta de «tarjeta azul». – Europa es un proyecto político basado en el estado de Derecho y en el imperio de la ley. Es una comunidad de valores, de la que España forma parte. Europa es el antídoto a su nacionalismo destructivo.

Usted es un prófugo de la justicia, que atentó contra el estado de Derecho y robó dinero público. Esta semana, ha empezado para usted lo que usted más teme. Se le va a aplicar la ley. Inmunidad no es impunidad y nadie en esta Cámara está por encima de la ley. ¿Cuándo va a tener usted el coraje? ¿Cuándo usted va a perder el miedo de hacer frente... (la presidenta retira la palabra a la oradora).

 
  
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  Carles Puigdemont i Casamajó (NI), respuesta de «tarjeta azul». – Señora Montserrat, yo creo que usted debería respetar las normas que este Parlamento ha aprobado. Y usted debe conocer que hay una directiva que impide a los cargos públicos, especialmente si son diputados en ese Parlamento, atacar la presunción de inocencia.

Exactamente, ¿a qué condenas usted se refiere? ¿A qué juicio usted se refiere? ¿A qué delitos usted se refiere que yo he cometido para hacer semejante afirmación en esta Cámara?

Dicho esto, creo que los Estados deben cumplir las leyes, sí. Y el Estado español es el primer Estado de la Unión Europea, el primero, en recibir sanciones por no cumplir las leyes europeas.

 
  
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  Antonio Tajani (PPE). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la prima cosa da fare per tutelare l'interesse dell'Europa è il ritorno alla politica.

La vera grande riforma è quella di avere un'Europa che sia in grado di raccogliere le grandi sfide interne ed esterne. Serve un equilibrio geopolitico differente, serve un'Europa con un'unica politica estera, con un'unica politica di difesa.

Abbiamo visto la debolezza dell'Europa nella crisi mediorientale, nella crisi libica, l'Europa assente nella grande crisi venezuelana e del Sudamerica. C'è un'offensiva cinese alla quale l'Europa ha il dovere di rispondere.

Serve quindi un'azione forte e coesa. Un'azione forte e coesa non significa rinunciare alle identità nazionali, rinunciare agli Stati nazionali, né l'Europa deve essere il pretesto per distruggere le unità nazionali. Le piccole patrie non esistono, esistono le patrie e come tali vanno difese e valorizzate nel contesto di un'Europa politicamente più forte.

Non credo che il problema si risolva con referendum illegittimi, non credo che il problema dell'unità europea si risolva con una sorta di democrazia non rappresentativa che vada contro le volontà popolari, cioè i popoli che hanno scelto i loro eletti.

Ecco perché io credo che debba essere rinforzato il ruolo del Parlamento europeo, al quale deve essere dato finalmente il potere di iniziativa legislativa come accade in tutti i parlamenti del mondo.

Anche in questa conferenza dobbiamo certo dare spazio alla voce dei cittadini ma dobbiamo dare spazio anche alle voci degli eletti, ivi compresi i sindaci e i presidenti delle regioni che siedono nel Comitato europeo delle regioni.

 
  
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  Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D). – Senhora Presidente, a Conferência sobre o Futuro da Europa é uma boa oportunidade para o reencontro dos cidadãos com o projeto europeu, mas três condições têm que ser respeitadas.

Primeiro, é preciso que seja um debate verdadeiramente aberto e participado, onde todos os cidadãos e organizações representativas da sociedade civil possam fazer ouvir a sua voz.

Em segundo lugar, é preciso que seja um debate centrado nas reais expetativas dos cidadãos e dirigido à construção de compromissos políticos viáveis. Não ganhamos nada com querelas institucionais, com um confronto de utopias estéril ou com um debate anárquico onde tudo se discute e nada se decide.

Terceiro, precisamos de um debate conclusivo, que permita às Instituições europeias democraticamente legitimadas tomar decisões e dar passos concretos na direção certa para uma Europa mais justa, uma Europa mais democrática e uma Europa que ofereça mais prosperidade aos seus cidadãos.

 
  
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  Svenja Hahn (Renew). – Frau Präsidentin! Junge Menschen sind die Zukunft Europas. Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, das werden Sie sicherlich genauso wie ich mehr als einmal im Wahlkampf gesagt haben. Und jetzt können wir zeigen, wie ernst wir das tatsächlich meinen.

Denn die Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas ist auch eine Konferenz zur Zukunft der nächsten Generation. Da muss diese nächste Generation auch mitreden können. Ich erwarte vor allen Dingen auch Respekt, genauso viel Respekt vor den Jugendforen wie vor den Bürgerversammlungen. Das ist vor allem auch ein Gruß an die Kollegen der ECR, die Jugendbeteiligung mit ihren Änderungsanträgen am liebsten abschaffen würden.

Ich erwarte aber auch Respekt von diesem Haus und von den nationalen Parlamenten. Schicken Sie vor allen Dingen auch junge Abgeordnete, denn nur, wenn wir junge Menschen auf allen Ebenen der Konferenz einbauen, zeigen wir, dass wir ihren Blickwinkel ernst nehmen, dass wir Respekt vor ihren Meinungen haben und dass sie ganz aktiv selbst ihre Zukunft in Europa mitgestalten können.

 
  
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  Damian Boeselager (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, after listening to this debate, I am even happier that we have a strong resolution in this House, which is basically supporting the future of Europe.

I just want to mention a few points that have been mentioned already to showcase that. We do recognise the problems – and because we recognise the problems, we’re trying to find solutions, and the problems as Mr Verhofstadt has said and also Ms O’Brien and others, lie in all the challenges we face with migration, with our social standards, and so on. We cannot address them fully because we are currently blocked in our solutions. That is why we need this conference to go into the future. The second question about the national interest. Yes, currently, we can’t defend our national interests because national interests are European interests and that is I think important to understand.

The majority of this House is for the future, and the future can only be obtained if we find a common future for Europe together and that means to have a common vision together that is shared with the citizens, and I hope that with this conference we can go down this path.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 171(8))

 
  
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  Katalin Cseh (Renew), blue-card question. – Mr Boeselager, you mentioned that we need a strongly worded resolution on this topic, I completely agree, but just let me remind this House of a later debate we are having about a very strongly worded resolution on Hungary and Poland. This House voted on this and nothing is happening so far. How can we guarantee that this resolution we are voting on will not lead to a similar talking shop, that we can finally achieve results and that this Parliament actually stands up for what has been voted on?

 
  
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  Damian Boeselager (Verts/ALE), blue-card answer. – Ms Cseh, there are two elements that we can use to make sure that this doesn’t end up as a talking shop. The first one is that we actually follow up on the outcomes of this debate, so that we have Treaty changes, so that we have procedural changes, so that we go into the regular processes here in this House, and in the other institutions and follow up. The second one is that we don’t only go bottom up as Mr Verhofstad said, but that we also play back our results to the citizens and say, ‘do you agree? Do you think these are good results?’ And only via this accountability, I think will we be able to hold all of us and all politicians accountable.

 
  
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  Harald Vilimsky (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, meine Damen und Herren! Sie wollen hier die Zukunft Europas in die Hand nehmen, scheitern aber bereits an einer erfolgreichen Bearbeitung der Gegenwart und der gegenwärtigen Probleme. Zwei Beispiele: Migration – seit 2015 sind Sie nicht in der Lage, einen entsprechenden Außengrenzschutz auch wahrzunehmen. Zweites Beispiel ist der Bereich Ökonomie, Währung. Wir haben im Währungsbereich eine Nullzinspolitik gegenüber einer Minuszinspolitik. Die Ökonomie ist schwach, und wir schaffen es nicht, hier die Wirtschaft entsprechend anzukurbeln. Wo allerdings hier Erfolg suggeriert wird, indem die zentralen Bereiche zur Seite geschoben werden, das ist die Klimakrise. Sie nutzen das aber, um den Menschen mit einer CO2—Abgabe noch mehr Geld aus der Tasche zu ziehen.

Woran die Europäische Union allerdings erneut scheitert, ist, einen Standort festzulegen, und Monat für Monat werden 120 Dienstfahrzeuge von Brüssel nach Straßburg mit jeweils nur einem Fahrer beordert und müssen wieder zurückfahren. Erkennen Sie, dass die Zukunft Europas nicht in einer Zentralisierung liegt, die Nationalstaaten sind gut genug und schlau genug, um ihre Probleme weitestgehend selbst zu lösen und hier liegt eine erfolgreiche Zukunft für Europa.

(Der Redner ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 171 Absatz 8 der Geschäftsordnung zu beantworten)

 
  
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  Claudia Gamon (Renew), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Herr Vilimsky! Sie haben jetzt überhaupt nicht zur Sache gesprochen. Deshalb möchte ich Sie fragen, was denn dagegensprechen würde, die Bürgerinnen und Bürger der Union hereinzuholen in diese Konferenz und mit ihnen in den Austausch zu kommen, was ihre Vorstellungen zur Zukunft Europas sind, weil Sie sich immer wieder dagegen verwehren, deren Stimmen zu hören, weil die viel weiterdenken würden und viel europäischer denken würden, als Sie es ihnen zutrauen.

 
  
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  Harald Vilimsky (ID), Antwort auf eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Frau Gamon! Bei aller Wertschätzung Ihrer Person – Sie sind ja auch neu im Haus –, ich war die vergangene Periode schon hier und war auch Zeuge dessen, dass wir x-fach diskutiert haben über die Zukunft Europas unter Beteiligung von Bürgern, von Interessengruppen, wer immer sich daran beteiligen möchte. Es gibt nur hier keinen Konsens, das Haus scheut sich davor, eine Antwort zu geben. Wir haben seit 2016 fünf Szenarien über eine mögliche Zukunft Europas, und bis heute scheut sich das Haus davor, hier eine entsprechende Festlegung zu treffen. Das ist mein Vorwurf, den ich an dieses Gremium postuliere ... (Die Präsidentin entzieht dem Redner das Wort.)

 
  
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  Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR). – Presidente, diez años, presidente, diez años desde la entrada en vigor del Tratado de Lisboa y lo que hemos tenido es una crisis financiera, una crisis inmigratoria, la crisis del Brexit. No hemos sabido resolver ninguno de estos problemas. Está bien que debatamos, por tanto, el futuro de la Unión, pero, cuidado, porque parece ser que la solución es seguir caminando hacia aquello que lo ha provocado, que es la federalización de Europa. Ustedes siguen caminando hacia el precipicio.

A mi entender, la solución debe ser, efectivamente, la de una conferencia libre en la que no se excluyan las opiniones de más del 20 % de este Parlamento, que ha sido excluido directamente de la misma redacción del texto de la propuesta que se lleva al Pleno. ¿Ese es el futuro de la Europa que ustedes quieren? El futuro de una Europa que empieza sancionando a dos Estados miembros y que continúa excluyendo del debate ―repito― a más del 20 % de la población europea.

Existen otros europeos que quieren una Europa de naciones libres, de naciones soberanas, que cooperan libremente defendiendo sus tradiciones. Y quiero recordarles también algo que ustedes parecen olvidar: el futuro pasa por nuestras tradiciones y el respeto a nuestra historia, nuestra cultura cristiana.

(El orador acepta responder a una pregunta formulada con arreglo al procedimiento de la «tarjeta azul» (artículo 171, apartado 8, del Reglamento interno))

 
  
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  Sven Simon (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Ich möchte einer Legendenbildung vorbeugen, die jetzt zwei Redner Ihrer Fraktion hier fälschlicherweise in den Raum gestellt haben: Sie behaupten, dass Sie ausgeschlossen worden seien von der Formulierung dieser Entschließung. Das stimmt nicht. Es war Ihr Wunsch, sich zurückzuziehen. Alle anderen haben das bedauert. Wir hätten gerne eine fraktionsübergreifende Entschließung verfasst – über alle Fraktionen hinweg. Sie haben sich zurückgezogen. Wir haben niemanden ausgeschlossen. Ist Ihnen das bekannt?

 
  
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  Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR), respuesta de «tarjeta azul». – Lamento disentir, pero yo formo parte también de esa Comisión de Asuntos Constitucionales y en el primer debate se nos trajo ya una propuesta, firmada por los cuatro grandes grupos, que hablaban de un futuro de una Europa más próxima, más cercana... de la federalización de Europa. Y, a partir de aquí, hagan ustedes enmiendas. ¿Qué enmiendas vamos a hacer si ustedes ya han cerrado el documento?

Yo creo que debatir es empezar a trabajar desde el principio y pensar de verdad en el respeto a nuestros ciudadanos.

 
  
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  Δημήτριος Παπαδημούλης (GUE/NGL). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, για να γίνει η Ενωμένη Ευρώπη πιο ελκυστική και πιο ισχυρή, χρειάζεται να γίνει πιο δημοκρατική, πιο κοινωνική, πιο οικολογική και πιο δίκαιη. Μόνο έτσι μπορούμε να αποφύγουμε τον κίνδυνο της οπισθοδρόμησης και της επιστροφής σε ένα μαύρο παρελθόν, κάτι το οποίο επιδιώκουν, ανοικτά πια, οι δυνάμεις της αντιευρωπαϊκής λαϊκίστικης ακροδεξιάς. Για να το πετύχουμε, o διάλογος αυτός, στον οποίο πρέπει να έχει ισχυρό ρόλο το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο, πρέπει να γίνει όχι μόνο μεταξύ των ελίτ αλλά, κυρίως, με τη συμμετοχή της κοινωνίας των πολιτών. Για τον λόγο αυτό η πολιτική μου ομάδα της Αριστεράς συνυπογράφει αυτό το ψήφισμα, παρότι θα το θέλαμε ριζοσπαστικότερο. Μας εντυπωσιάζει δε όχι μόνο η απόλυτη άρνηση της άκρας Δεξιάς να στηρίξει αυτό το ψήφισμα αλλά και η άρνησή της να δεχθεί τη συμμετοχή των πολιτών σε αυτό τον διάλογο. Γιατί φοβόσαστε τη συμμετοχή των πολιτών;

 
  
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  Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (NI). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, europski narodi i države osuđeni su jedni na druge. Bili smo ovdje i prije Europe, sad kad je Europa, bit ćemo bez obzira što se dogodi s Europskom unijom.

Danas je, inače, Međunarodni dan priznanja Republike Hrvatske, a na današnji dan, slušajući ovdje raspravu, ja sam dobio jedno malo osobno priznanje slušajući velike zagovornike Europe koje sam godinama pratio kako priznaju da su pogriješili, da su provodili politike koje su naletile na zid. Bravo! Priznanje je prvi korak u rješavanju bilo čega.

Europi fali solidarnosti. U Hrvatskoj kad su požari u Dalmaciji, svi skačemo da pomognemo Dalmaciji. Kad su poplave u Slavoniji, cijela Hrvatska skače da pomogne Slavoniji. Međutim, u Europi je solidarnost minimalna. Umjesto solidarnosti vi ste ponudili opresiju. Solidarnost ste smanjili svojim pogrešnim zajedničkim opresivnim politikama.

Na primjer, monetarna politika. Sad se Hrvatska gura u eurozonu. Oduzet ćete nam time sve alate izlaska iz krize, politiku tečaja kamatnih stopa. Što će nam se onda dogoditi? Elementi pomoći su nikakvi. Hoćemo izgubiti kao Grčka 25 % gospodarstva? Hoće li naša privreda krepati kao pas na cesti?

 
  
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  Danuta Maria Hübner (PPE). – Madam President, this two-year conference can be something entirely different from just a podium for popular or populist politicians. We have a chance to initiate an openm fully inclusive debate on Europe and its future. It can be a debate of equals that would lead to a permanent mechanism of dialogue on Europe. Independently of its final outcome, this conference is a political process, it can have its own value added: renewing European liberal democracy, keeping European unity, advancing European citizenship, enhancing the feelings of ownership of Europe among our citizens. Such an unprecedented open dialogue can make Europe grow as a democracy caring, with reciprocity, about its citizens.

I see this conference also as a follow—up to what was new in the last European elections. As never before, the 2019 elections generated a common European narrative instead of the traditional separate 28 national stories. These elections proved that our citizens expect more from Europe than in the past. We know that citizens cannot just be offered the option to listen to what we politicians and institutions have to say about globalisation, climate neutrality, green policies, migration, digitalisation, social justice, competitiveness, and so on. They want to participate in responding to challenges, to address them jointly and to tailor these responses to their taste, needs and dreams. We should use this opportunity to learn how to be in listening mode.

(The speaker declined to take a blue-card question)

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D). – Doamna președintă, stimați colegi, trebuie să recunoaștem că propunerea de a avea o conferință a venit din criza în care se află Uniunea Europeană și trebuie toți să ne facem o analiză. Au făcut tot ce trebuie politicienii pentru a discuta cu cetățenii? Poate că dacă făceam mai mult noi, politicienii, că da, și eu cred în democrația reprezentativă, reprezentăm cetățenii, dar ne-am întâlnit noi atât cât ar fi trebuit cu cetățenii să-i consultăm atunci când votăm, când luăm decizii în numele lor?

Și în management, atunci când eșuează o măsură, trebuie să găsești o altă măsură și de fapt, asta se vrea prin această conferință. Evident că trebuie să avem grijă cum integrăm această conferință, acest nou organism, această platformă care vrea să aducă cetățeanul mai aproape de noi cu constituțiile naționale, cu parlamentele naționale. Structura este prevăzută în propunerea conferinței; este importantă implementarea, este important să nu facem o birocrație nouă, un cost nou și să urmărim efectele.

Da, voi susține această rezoluție și cred că toți trebuie să o susținem pentru că, de fapt, este un mecanism de îmbunătățire a comunicării cu cetățenii.

 
  
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  Charles Goerens (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, ce n’est pas parce que la tâche sera ardue qu’il ne faut pas lancer cette conférence. Non, c’est parce que le moteur de l’intégration européenne est en panne qu’il importe de faire une introspection collective. Disons-le clairement, notre manière de fonctionner va nous conduire tout droit dans la deuxième ligue.

Cette conférence sera l’occasion de s’entendre sur un diagnostic collectif, de nous interroger sur les raisons de notre paralysie, de coaliser les efforts des citoyens soucieux de contribuer à façonner leur avenir, de donner une voix aux déçus et aussi de donner une voix aux jeunes. D’ailleurs, je conseillerais à ceux qui manqueraient d’arguments et de motivation pour cette conférence de s’inspirer des messages qui émanent des jeunes Britanniques déçus par le Brexit.

 
  
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  Patrick Breyer (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Wie schaffen wir es, dass die EU Politik für die Mehrheit der Bürgerinnen und Bürger macht und nicht für Konzerne? Wie dämmen wir Lobbyismus ein? Wie können die Europäerinnen und Europäer bei Bedarf selbst das Ruder in die Hand nehmen durch EU-weite Referenden und direkte Demokratie?

Um das Vertrauen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger in die EU zurückzugewinnen und Europa vor einem Auseinanderfallen oder einer schrittweisen Übernahme durch Nationalisten zu schützen, wie wir sie auch heute gehört haben, brauchen wir eine Fundamentalreform, einen Neustart der EU. Diese Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas wird hoffentlich einige kleinere Verbesserungen bewirken können. Aber ausgerechnet von Vertretern der EU-Organe zu erwarten, sich quasi selbst zu reformieren, das ist wie Frösche zu fragen, wie man einen Sumpf austrocknet.

Lassen Sie uns deswegen den Mut und das Vertrauen in unsere Bürgerinnen und Bürger aufbringen, einen direkt gewählten Bürgerkonvent mit der Ausarbeitung einer neuen EU-Verfassung zu beauftragen und die Europäerinnen und Europäer in einem europaweiten Referendum selbst über die EU entscheiden zu lassen, die Sie haben möchten.

 
  
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  Jordan Bardella (ID). – Madame la Présidente, demain l’Europe sociale, demain l’Europe qui protège, demain une Europe plus démocratique, voilà maintenant plus de 30 ans que les responsables politiques nous chantent la même chanson et qu’ils font miroiter aux peuples européens des promesses jamais tenues. Les meilleures intentions du monde n’y feront rien: aucun projet européen légitime et durable ne verra le jour tant qu’il ne reposera pas sur une coopération libre entre les nations et donc sur le respect des souverainetés de chacun.

L’Union européenne n’est pas seulement critiquable dans sa structure, elle l’est aussi et surtout dans sa politique. Protection des peuples face à la mondialisation sauvage, défense de leur identité, intelligence artificielle, révolution technologique ou encore environnement et écologie, votre modèle européen nous a tout fait rater. Nous devions concurrencer l’Amérique, la Chine, la Russie ou l’Inde, nous sommes en réalité réduits à l’impuissance. J’ose émettre un souhait: que cette conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe soit enfin le moment d’un changement de cap radical mais je ne me fais guère d’illusions.

(L’orateur accepte de répondre à une question «carton bleu» (article 171, paragraphe 8, du règlement intérieur)

 
  
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  Ben Habib (NI), blue-card question. – Mr Bardella, would you agree with me that the name of this conference is a misnomer? It really ought to be ‘the future of the European Union’, not ‘the future of Europe’. And would you also agree with me that the conference could actually be dispensed with, because the future of the European Union is actually quite dire and will dissolve quite soon?

 
  
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  Jordan Bardella (ID), réponse «carton bleu». – Je ne confonds pas l’Europe et l’Union européenne. Je pense que l’Europe est un continent, qui a inventé les nations, qui contient en son sein, peut-être les plus belles et les plus vieilles nations du monde, mais qu’en tout cas, l’Union européenne, qui s’est construite depuis maintenant un peu plus de 30 ans, est en train de détruire les nations. Je me réjouis d’avoir vu le peuple britannique reprendre sa liberté, mais en tout cas, nous ne pouvons pas imaginer une coopération européenne sans la puissance britannique et je crois qu’il faudra quand même continuer à envisager des partenariats entre une nouvelle forme de construction européenne et la nation britannique.

 
  
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  Roberts Zīle (ECR). – Prezident! Ja pilsoņi redz, ka neskatoties uz Eiropas zaļo kursu tiek pieņemti likumi, kas protekcionisma vārdā katru otro mēnesi liks dzenāt tukšas kravas automašīnas pāri visai Eiropai, viņi diez vai tic Eiropas vērtībām.

Kad arvien ciešāk Savienības piekritēji cīnās ap Eiropas Savienības budžetu, kas īstenībā ir viens procents no GNI jeb divdesmit reizes mazāks kā ASV Federālais, un reizē samazina kohēzijas resursu, tad jau tā sarežģītā demogrāfiskā situācija nozīmēs jaunu cilvēku aizplūšanu no Eiropas perifērijas uz bagātākām valstīm, padarot atšķirības starp Eiropas valstīm vēl lielākas. Arī tam pilsoņi neticēs. Kad prasība palielināt Eiropas suverenitāti globālajā līmenī robežojās ar to, ka dažas lielākās valstis vienpersoniski varēs pārstāvēt globālajā līmenī Eiropu, arī tas neiepriecina pārējo valsts pilsoņus. Un visbeidzot, ja pilsonim Eiropas Parlamenta vēlēšanās Pan Eiropas sarakstos būs kandidāti, par kuriem vairāk kā deviņdesmit procentu gadījumā viņi, neko nebūs dzirdējuši, arī tas viņus neiepriecinās.

Mēs varam samaitāt to, kas mums pašlaik ir labs Eiropā, nevis sasniegt ko citu. Paldies.

 
  
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  Nikolaj Villumsen (GUE/NGL). – Fru formand! EU er elitens projekt. EU tilgodeser de multinationale selskaber og de rigeste. Det sker på bekostning af klimaet, af miljøet og af lønmodtagerne. I stedet har vi brug for et ligeværdigt demokratisk samarbejde, der sætter borgerne, naturen og klimaet i centrum. Derfor er der behov for en grundlæggende debat om, hvordan vi samarbejder i Europa. Vi har ikke brug for en forudbestemt debat, hvor konklusionen altid er mere centralisering, mere ureguleret marked. Vi har brug for en åben og reel involvering af borgerne, af civilsamfundet og af de nationale parlamenter. Derfor stemmer vi for dette beslutningsforslag. Vi er aldrig bange for at spørge borgerne. Vi vil også gerne sende et klart signal til EU-Kommissionen om, at hvis ikke der her bliver en reel involvering af borgerne - hvis ikke der bliver en reel folkelig inddragelse - så kommer borgerne aldrig til at tilgive det.

 
  
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  Richard Tice (NI). – Madam President, the future for the United Kingdom is bright, full of opportunity, as we have the political certainty of leaving the EU in just two weeks’ time. The opportunity to run our country as we want, not as the EU tells us. The opportunity to be a high—growth, low—tax, smartly regulated economy that competes on the world stage without unnecessary bureaucracy and protectionism. The opportunity to run a sensible, fair immigration policy that works for our economy, for our people. The opportunity to use state aid for our strategic industries and businesses. Our employment levels are at record highs, our unemployment at record lows, especially for our young people. I suggest to you, Madam President, the opportunity for the remaining EU27 countries can too be bright, if you reform, follow our lead and take back control.

(Applause from certain quarters)

 
  
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  Othmar Karas (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Kommissarin, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! Wir sind uns ja wohl hoffentlich in der Mehrheit einig, dass unsere Zukunft eine starke, effiziente, glaubwürdigere Europäische Union benötigt.

Und die Europäische Union sind wir alle: Bürgerinnen und Bürger, Gemeinden, Regionen, Nationen und die europäische Gemeinschaft. Machen wir daher die Zukunft zu unserem Freund! Machen wir die Bürgerinnen und Bürger zu unseren Verbündeten! Stellen wir die Zukunft Europas und die Rolle der Europäischen Union in der Welt parteipolitisch außer Streit!

Die Zukunft benötigt eine Stärkung der europäischen Demokratie, keine Entscheidung ohne das Europäische Parlament, die Beseitigung der Einstimmigkeit im Entscheidungsprozess, ein europäisches Wahlrecht mit europäischen Listen, das Initiativrecht, die Budgethoheit, Eigenfinanzierung, europäische Volksabstimmungen. Die Zukunft benötigt eine europäische Regierung, die dann Sprecherin des Kontinents in der Welt ist und über eine gemeinsame Außen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik verfügen muss. Unsere Zukunft benötigt europäische Antworten auf die global challenges, unsere Zukunft benötigt einen Binnenmarkt ohne Barrieren, unsere Zukunft benötigt ein Budget, das der Größe der Aufgaben, der Anzahl der Bevölkerung Europas entspricht und in die Zukunft investiert.

Und daher sage ich Ihnen: Die Zukunft benötigt Dialog, europäisches Bewusstsein, gemeinsames Handeln. Wir als Parlamente müssen dafür bereitstehen. Wir mit unserer einen Million Besuchern, mit einer erhöhten Wahlbeteiligung und mit unseren Verbindungsbüros und Stakeholdern. Gehen wir die Sache gemeinsam an!

 
  
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  Giuliano Pisapia (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, sono passati ormai quasi ottant'anni da quando Altiero Spinelli ed Ernesto Rossi, confinati in un'isola dal regime fascista, scrissero il manifesto di Ventotene.

Oggi più che mai sentiamo il bisogno di rinnovamento e di concretezza. La conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa ci offre un'opportunità unica, e forse l'ultima, per rispondere alle richieste di cambiamento e di partecipazione non solo nei grandi centri urbani ma anche nelle campagne e nelle periferie, ascoltando anche chi è contrario, chi è critico, chi non condivide l'attuale sistema dell'Unione europea.

Per questo è indispensabile una struttura capace di trasformare le idee in risultati concreti, è indispensabile l'impegno delle istituzioni europee a realizzare, anche con la modifica dei trattati, le principali proposte che emergeranno dalla conferenza, altrimenti rischiamo di sprecare una delle ultime chance di cambiamento, e forte sarà il rischio di un vero e proprio boomerang, di un passo indietro del Parlamento e dell'Unione europea.

La via da percorrere non è facile né sicura, ma deve essere percorsa e lo sarà, lo faremo con convinzione e con passione.

 
  
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  Dita Charanzová (Renew). – Paní předsedající, konference o budoucnosti Evropy by neměla řešit nic menšího než naši společnou budoucnost. A kudy se dál ubírat by měli říci ti nejpovolanější – občané, Evropané. Jsem proto ráda, že jsme se k tomuto kroku odhodlali. Slyšela jsem v uplynulých letech i zde volání po změně. Neslyšela jsem snad žádného kolegu, který by řekl: všechno funguje perfektně, změn není potřeba. A proto je dobře, že teď i my politici vlastně jdeme s kůží na trh. Jdeme si vyslechnout to, co bychom měli dělat jinak, lépe. Totiž to, co platí mnohdy zde v bruselské bublině, nemusí a často není dobře vnímáno občany našich zemí. Evropa se mění, mění se svět, máme zde nové výzvy technologické, bezpečnostní, environmentální. I na to musíme hledat odpovědi. To nejhorší, co bychom měli dělat, je nedělat nic, pokračovat v zajetých kolejích. Pro mnohé by to asi bylo řešení nejpohodlnější, ale řešení krátkodobé a řešení špatné.

(Řečnice souhlasila s tím, že odpoví na otázku položenou zvednutím modré karty (čl. 171 odst. 8 jednacího řádu)

 
  
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  Damian Boeselager (Verts/ALE), blue-card question. – Ms Charanzová, I am very happy that you mentioned meaningful citizen participation again, and so my question – because this has been discussed a lot here – is how would you see meaningful citizen participation with the maximum amount of people? How would you organise that?

 
  
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  Dita Charanzová (Renew), odpověď na otázku položenou zvednutím modré karty. – Kdyby to bylo jen na mně, já bych tam chtěla mít jenom občany, chtěla bych tam mít mladé lidi. Já je slyším, když cestuju po regionech, po České republice. Oni se chtějí zapojit, jenom jsme jim neukázali tu cestu. Takže pojďme si s nimi sednout my politici, instituce, Evropská komise, zástupci národních parlamentů a pojďme je poslouchat. Ale pro mě tou hnací silou musí být naši občané.

 
  
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  Scott Ainslie (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, Brexit should serve as a dire warning to all of us as to what happens when ordinary people see the EU as distant, unaccountable and out of touch. It becomes terrifyingly easy for well—financed, far—right demagogues, aided and abetted by the populist gutter press, to turn people against it and whip up Eurosceptic fear.

In the UK, it’s too late. The damage has been done. But it would be an absolute tragedy if the EU didn’t learn lessons from the calamity that is Brexit. So, if the conclusions of this conference are to be worth the paper they’re written on, the voices of citizens and civil society must be heard loud and clear. This process cannot be reduced to a tokenistic rubber—stamping exercise.

It’s worrying that powerful lobbyists and big businesses find it easy to influence the politics of any government anywhere, while NGOs and ordinary citizens are too often muted and kept in the cold. At this vital Conference on the Future of Europe, it is absolutely critical that we seize this chance to amplify citizens’ voices of all Europeans, which I and my country – as proud Europeans – look forward to continuing to contribute to doing.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. – Just briefly, Ms Huhtasaari, you are the next speaker but you also indicated to ask a question, which I’m not going to allow. I’m afraid that I’m subject to the rule of time, and my advisers tell me that I need to discontinue the blue-card system. I apologise for that, but we do have a formal sitting at 12 and we need to prepare the Chamber, so you have to accept my ruling on this for now, and perhaps you could discuss this procedure at a future time. Thank you for your cooperation and participation.

 
  
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  Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, sorry, but I have to challenge your decision on the blue cards, because we have one hour in between the end of this debate and the next debate. I see your point that you have to discuss in the Chamber, but you have enough presidents to do that without one, and I think that you can continue this debate. We have seen so far that this debate really lived through the usage of blue cards. Therefore, I want to challenge your decision on discarding the debate by taking a decision in this plenary to continue with the usage of the blue-card system.

(Applause)

 
  
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  President. – I love the blue-card system and I think it works. However, I cannot allow this debate to roll into the noon formal sitting. Maybe you and your Groups would take on board how good this debate has been and how interactive, and talk afterwards about how we might continue the process. But for now, I do not have one hour’s flexibility – I wish I did, but I don’t. So please, accept my ruling, and we will proceed with the debate and take on board my comments about, perhaps, reform for the future. Now, Ms Huhtasaari – and without interruption – you have one minute.

 
  
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  Laura Huhtasaari (ID). – Arvoisa puhemies, totalitarismissa yhteistyötä tehdään vain niiden kanssa, jotka ovat samaa mieltä. EU:n tulevaisuushankkeen kannanmuodostuksessa ID-ryhmämme on sivuutettu. EU:n tulevaisuushankkeessa torjuttaviksi uhkatekijöiksi on määritelty nationalismi ja brexit. Kenelle ne ovat uhka? Eivät ainakaan kansalle eikä kansallisvaltioiden suvereniteetille. Sen sijaan ne ovat uhka EU:n sosialistiselle suurvaltaprojektille ja EU-johdolle, jonka mielestä sosialismia pitää kokeilla vielä kerran.

Brexit on aiheuttanut paniikkireaktion, jonka myötä täältä on riistetty meppien paikoilta meppien omat liput. Täällä keskustellaan siitä, että pitäisi ottaa kansalaiset keskusteluun mukaan, mutta se ei ilmeisesti tarkoita kaikkia. Sanotte koko ajan, että populisteja ei oteta keskusteluun, mutta kansalaisia otetaan.

Just you wait – the future belongs to... (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Derk Jan Eppink (ECR). – Voorzitter, Europa staat inderdaad op een kruispunt. De resolutie van de meerderheid is duidelijk: u wilt een soevereine EU-staat met een eigen regering, eigen belastingen, een eigen leger. Dat maakt lidstaten tot provincies.

Europese conservatieven hebben een ander Europa voor ogen, namelijk een gemeenschap van soevereine staten, samenwerking tussen staten – dat is heel belangrijk –, meer macht terug naar de lidstaten en uiteindelijk afschaffing van de loodzware bureaucratie die wij hebben. Wij gaan dus een parallel proces lanceren met een competitief en concurrerend project en we gaan daarmee in de lidstaten in debat met de bevolking. Ook vinden wij dat de bevolking haar eigen mening moet kunnen uitspreken in referenda.

Dus, vraag het de burgers, niet allerlei ngo’s en dergelijke, mensen overal in schimmige posities, maar direct aan de burgers. Laat hen zich uitspreken over de toekomst van Europa in plaats van gesubsidieerde organisaties.

 
  
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  Claire Fox (NI). – Madam President, this is the best debate I’ve listened to in this Chamber. Well-chaired, Madam McGuinness. There’s been some honest reflections, and even Guy Verhofstadt has shown humility: to quote him, he said ‘we have a problem’. You do.

With all this talk about citizens’ assemblies and consultations, there’s a danger that it is superficially bringing citizens into the decision-making process, but is really stage—managed tokenism. Actually, European citizens do speak out; they do debate freely all the time, without the help of bureaucrats. European citizens often shout their opinions loud and clear, in national elections, and in referenda, but they’re often dismissed by people here. When EU citizens dare criticize the EU institutions or eurozone austerity policies, many MEPs here in unpopular institutions and political parties put their hands over their ears or spit out insults. ‘You’re populist’, they say, ‘you’re far right’. I’m actually on the left! ‘You’re manipulated,’ they say to voters, ‘by misinformation or demagogues’. In other words, you can’t be serious about consulting citizens if you demonise those citizens unless they sycophantically act as cheerleaders for the EU.

(Applause)

You seem to want to create ... (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Vladimír Bilčík (PPE). – Madam President, I very much welcome this discussion, and I also welcome the resolution for which I hope we can gather the widest possible support in this House. It is important: we need a strong start for this conference, and we don’t need it just in this House – we need it especially beyond the confines of this House. Indeed, the conference should bring results for improving our institutions, and also our decision making.

But, more importantly, I hope that the conference carries something more, and that is the emotion: the emotion which we saw in the run up to the last European elections, when voters’ participation increased in unprecedented numbers across the EU Member States. And we need to carry this emotion; we need to carry the increased trust of our citizens in Europe’s future, and we need to do it through their participation in this conference. This is essential, and I just want to respond very quickly to the remarks from the far—right corner of this house. This is going to be a conference on Europe’s future. Article 19 is very clear. I believe we should engage all of those in the EU candidate countries who are ready to work with us, who are ready to join us. This is the opportunity to make this a conference on Europe’s future; to make this a conference on a stronger Europe in the world.

 
  
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  Simona Bonafè (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, con le ultime elezioni europee i cittadini ci hanno dimostrato che vogliono ancora credere nel progetto europeo, purché l'Europa cambi.

Da soli oggi, chiusi nei nostri Stati, non andiamo da nessuna parte. Le crisi internazionali ai nostri confini sono solo l'ultimo campanello di allarme della necessità di un'Europa con una voce sola, ma è l'ultima chiamata per cambiare l'Europa.

Abbiamo il dovere di aprire, con questa conferenza, una nuova fase costituente, un'opportunità di rilancio per puntare su un'Europa più democratica, con un ruolo centrale per il Parlamento europeo, ma anche un momento di apertura e di ascolto per tornare ad appassionare i cittadini e parlare dei loro bisogni e delle loro aspettative.

Serve allora una conferenza dinamica e pragmatica, che sappia imprimere alle istituzioni europee un cambio di passo vero in termini di efficacia e credibilità.

Ma attenzione, colleghi! Dobbiamo evitare una discussione fine a se stessa, dove ai propositi non seguono i fatti, perché altrimenti da opportunità la conferenza diventa carburante per il motore dell'antieuropeismo, e non ce lo possiamo permettere.

 
  
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  President. – Just briefly, when people are speaking really fast, I get a flashing light from the interpreters, so say less rather than more, and then you’ll be within your time. A small piece of advice.

 
  
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  Claudia Gamon (Renew). – Frau Präsidentin! Mit der Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas lösen wir ein Versprechen ein – ein Versprechen, dass Europa in Zukunft besser funktionieren muss. Ich bin sehr froh darüber, dass wir die nächsten zwei Jahre die Bürgerinnen und Bürger Europas vor den Vorhang holen werden, um sie zu fragen, was ihre Erwartungen an ein gemeinsames, starkes Europa der Zukunft sein könnten. Die zentrale Frage wird sein: Was ist unsere Vision eines gemeinsamen Europas? Und auch an die Bürgerinnen und Bürger: Was ist eure Vision, wie die Zukunft Europas ausschauen kann?

Wichtige Reformen scheitern ja oft an Angst – Angst davor, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger etwas vermeintlich nicht haben wollen. Aber meine Erfahrung aus vielen Gesprächen ist, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger der Union viel weiterdenken, viel mutiger denken, als es ihnen ihre Regierungschefs vielleicht jetzt schon zutrauen würden. Und deshalb: Nehmen wir diesen Mut mit und treffen wir auch Entscheidungen, die wesentlich und entscheidend sein werden dafür, dass Europa besser funktioniert!

Wir haben so viele Herausforderungen, denen wir uns hier jeden Tag stellen, wie die Klimakatastrophe. Wie sollen wir denen entgegentreten, wenn nicht in einem verbesserten, gemeinsamen und stärkeren Europa? Ich hoffe doch, dass wir diese Konferenz auch als Anlass nehmen, um diesen Spirit des Gemeinsamen auch weiter zu tragen in die nächsten Jahre, und für mich bedeutet das: Auf in die Vereinigten Staaten von Europa!

 
  
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  Niklas Nienaß (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, I think we have seen so far in this debate that we do face a crisis in Europe, and I think we have seen not just after the election, but already before, that there are two possibilities. Do we want less Europe or more? The Far Right have so far expressed their vision of this, but we, with a big majority of people who said we want more Europe, have won this election. So therefore, we now need to decide: how much more Europe do we want? And I think this question should be answered by the public, by everyone, by sitting together and answering this question.

And yes, the answer to this question can be that we want less, that the people want less Europe. But I say let us take the risk, because so far, I know that we have the better arguments. We know that Europe has brought unity of East and West, that it has brought freedom, that it has brought peace and prosperity. And so I see all the good arguments on our side, and I know that we will win this debate.

Talking of debate, let us continue to have a good debate in this plenary and make this the first European public sphere.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto (ID). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, quest' Europa va cambiata e rivoltata da cima a fondo. Non abbiamo bisogno di più Europa ma di un'Europa completamente diversa e nuova.

Basta con l'Europa schiava delle banche e delle multinazionali. Basta con l'Europa dei burocrati, delle lobby e della finanza. Quella della von der Leyen sarà la solita minestra riscaldata, la solita Europa dominata dalla Francia e dalla Germania, dalla Merkel e da Macron.

L'Europa che noi vogliamo è l'Europa dei popoli, della libertà e della vera democrazia. L'Europa che vogliamo costruire deve fermare l'immigrazione clandestina, sconfiggere il terrorismo islamico, tutelare il made in Italy, difendere le nostre imprese e i nostri lavoratori.

Questa è la grande rivoluzione democratica che noi porteremo avanti con la schiena dritta e con la forza di chi rappresenta veramente la volontà del popolo italiano.

 
  
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  June Alison Mummery (NI). – Madam President, the hallmarks of British society are politeness, respect and modesty. But as those who sought to hijack the Brexit agenda have found, we continue to be no simple ‘nation of shopkeepers’. When our values, democracy and sovereignty are threatened, the ‘bulldog spirit’ rises in our blood and the fightback starts.

This is what happened in the recent election, which was convincingly won by Boris Johnson. The British public saw three years of delay, bullying, plotting and platitudes for what it was: a betrayal of British democracy.

So as this stage of the Brexit saga draws to a close, I trust that lessons have been learned to help a future UK-EU relationship. I trust that the EU hierarchy now realises the British people will not be taken for fools or pushed around moving forward. I sincerely hope we can find a route to effective cooperation and friendship.

Above all, I hope the EU can finally accept the choice of the British people to leave the EU. I think Lech Wałęsa summed up the situation well when he... (The President cut off the speaker)

 
  
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  Ελισσάβετ Βόζεμπεργκ-Βρυωνίδη (PPE). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, πριν τέσσερις ημέρες, δώδεκα νεκροί μετανάστες προστέθηκαν στην τραγική λίστα θυμάτων μεταξύ Τουρκίας και ελληνικών νησιών. Είκοσι άνθρωποι διασώθηκαν με υπεράνθρωπες προσπάθειες του Ελληνικού Ναυτικού, ενώ δυστυχώς άλλοι τόσοι αγνοούνται. Οι ροές μεταναστών συνεχίζονται αμείωτα, παρά τις κακές καιρικές συνθήκες, και η Τουρκία εξακολουθεί, κατά τη συνήθη πρακτική της, να περιφρονεί το διεθνές δίκαιο. Το νέο σχέδιο ασύλου, που έχει προ μηνών εξαγγελθεί, δεν έχει ακόμη προωθηθεί.

Για ποιο μέλλον της Ευρώπης συζητούμε σήμερα; Δεν υπάρχει μέλλον χωρίς τη συμμετοχή όλων των χωρών στην αντιμετώπιση των κορυφαίων κοινών ευρωπαϊκών προβλημάτων. Η έμφαση στη φύλαξη των εξωτερικών συνόρων, που άλλωστε είναι μέλημα και κάθε κράτους μέλους, είναι μεν σημαντική αλλά δεν αρκεί. Απαιτείται δίκαιη και ίση κατανομή προσφύγων σε όλες, ανεξαιρέτως, τις χώρες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης με τα κριτήρια που έχουμε θέσει. Σήμερα δεν ακούσαμε τίποτα για αυτό. Πώς ονειρευόμαστε μια ενωμένη Ευρώπη, όταν κάθε κράτος μέλος ακολουθεί διαφορετική πολιτική ιδίων συμφερόντων; Όταν χώρες έχουν κλείσει τα σύνορα και αρνούνται να αναλάβουν ευθύνες; Ας είμαστε ρεαλιστές και ειλικρινείς, συνάδελφοι. Δεν μπορούμε να μιλάμε για το μέλλον μιας Ευρώπης χωρίς αλληλεγγύη στην πράξη. Το μεταναστευτικό απειλεί τη συνοχή και τα θεμέλια της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, και η διαχείρισή του κλονίζει την εμπιστοσύνη των πολιτών στις αξίες μας. Έχουμε καθήκον και υποχρέωση να αντιδράσουμε άμεσα και έμπρακτα αλλά κυρίως σοβαρά και υπεύθυνα.

 
  
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  Katarina Barley (S&D). – Frau Präsidentin! Die Europäische Union ist nach wie vor der Garant für Frieden, für Freiheit und für Wohlstand auf diesem Kontinent. Die Errungenschaften für die Bürgerinnen und Bürger sind zahllos. Aber die EU ist nicht perfekt. Sie ist work in progress, sie verändert sich ständig, und das muss sie auch. Sie muss demokratischer werden, sozialer, ökologischer, und sie muss vor allem die Distanz überwinden, die viele Menschen zu ihr empfinden.

Diese zweijährige Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas ist eine Chance. Entscheidend wird sein, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger nicht nur gehört werden, sondern dass sie auch Entscheidungen treffen können, die Gewicht haben. Wir sind uns bewusst, was das bedeutet, und wir verpflichten uns dazu: ein klares Mandat der Konferenz, Gesetzesinitiativen anzustoßen, auch Änderungen der Verträge. Deswegen ist es wichtig, dass erstens die Konferenz klare Ergebnisse liefert und dass zweitens die Bürgerinnen und Bürger umfassend einbezogen werden. Nur über umfassende Kommunikation währenddessen und danach und völlige Transparenz kann Vertrauen gestärkt werden, und das ist die Aufgabe des Parlaments.

 
  
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  Caroline Voaden (Renew). – Madam President, millions of people in my country don’t really understand how the European Union works. They associate the EU with mythical rules on bent bananas and banning bagpipes, because of a right-wing media that has spread lies and disinformation for decades. But beware: we are not the only ones. Brexit is a cautionary tale, and it could have happened to many of you.

This conference on the future of Europe is an ambitious project, and it needs to be if it is going to secure the future of this unique union of nations. I believe that people want to feel involved, enfranchised, represented and consulted. We are the democratically elected representatives of the European people and for them to have a proper say, this House must have legislative initiative. The Council must become more transparent. People must understand the reason that progress is not being made. Migration is a classic example, because national governments are blocking Council.

Colleagues, cooperation between peoples, nations and cultures is the future. Going it alone is not the answer, and the citizen’s voice is the most important one of all.

(Loud applause)

 
  
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  Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Verts/ALE). – Frau Präsidentin! Auch für uns Grüne steht die Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas für die Frage: Wie wollen wir künftig leben?

Wie wir die ökologischen, sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Belange ausbalancieren wollen, können wir ja nur herausfinden, wenn wir uns mit den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern Europas in einen gemeinsamen großen Austausch begeben. Partizipation steht nämlich im Zentrum einer nachhaltigen und regenerativen Kultur, die wir dringend brauchen, um den Klimawandel zu begrenzen und den Verlust der Artenvielfalt zu stoppen.

Wie soll denn zum Beispiel konkret vor Ort die Mobilitätswende aussehen, wie unsere Ernährung, wie schaffen wir es, eine Wirtschaft zu ändern, damit sie mehr dem Gemeinwohl dient? Solche Transformationsprozesse sind tiefgreifend, und sie können nur wirken, wenn sie auf eine breite demokratische Basis gestellt werden.

Deswegen freue ich mich ausdrücklich, dass das Parlament heute diese Einladung ausspricht. Macht mit! Wir wollen Europa gemeinsam gestalten, und wir müssen Europa fit für die heutige und für die künftigen Herausforderungen machen. Welches Europa brauchen wir eigentlich dazu? Wie wollen wir künftig leben?

 
  
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  Ann Widdecombe (NI). – Madam President, it was Madame García Pérez who reminded us at the beginning of this debate that the European Union started with six countries. The vision then was that it would be a loose alliance of sovereign nations in a trading agreement with some sort of political cooperation, with a totally noble ideal that that would somehow promote peace. And if that had remained the vision, and was still the vision, I venture to say that I don’t believe that Britain would now be leaving.

But that did not happen. Co-operation morphed into domination. Sovereignty morphed into a superstate. And that is why Britain is going, and I believe that when we have made a big success of being a competitor on your doorstep, others will follow us. And therefore if you want a future – not for Europe, but for the European Union, which is a different thing – learn the lessons of what has happened in the UK.

(Sustained applause)

 
  
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  Angelika Niebler (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, Frau Ratsvertreterin, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen! Die Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas ist eine wichtige Konferenz, weil wir in der Tat in der Europäischen Union doch erheblichen Reformbedarf haben. Für mich ist ein Thema wichtig, nämlich unsere parlamentarische Demokratie zu stärken. Und wenn ich von parlamentarischer Demokratie spreche, dann meine ich den Spitzenkandidatenprozess. Wir haben ja heute viel über Bürgernähe gesprochen und darüber, wie wir die Bürger einbinden. Ich stelle fest, dass seit der letzten Europawahl viel Vertrauen bei den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern verloren gegangen ist. Wir haben über 200 Millionen Menschen, die an der Europawahl teilgenommen haben, und unsere Menschen hatten eine klare Erwartungshaltung, dass diejenigen, die bei dieser Europawahl als Spitzenkandidaten antreten, am Ende dann auch Verantwortung in der Kommission übernehmen. Wir wissen alle, dass es anders gekommen ist, und ich glaube, wenn wir unseren Bürgern auch wieder Vertrauen zurückgeben wollen, dann müssen wir wirklich an der Reform dieses Spitzenkandidatenprozesses arbeiten.

Für mich ist die Herzkammer der Demokratie hier das Europäische Parlament. Hier werden die Entscheidungen getroffen, hier müssen wir uns austauschen und diskutieren. Ich finde es gut, dass wir hier Bürgerinnen- und Bürgermeinungen breit in den Prozess einbinden, aber am Ende des Tages müssen wir im Europaparlament entscheiden. Das ist unsere Aufgabe, dafür sind wir auch gewählt worden. Ich würde mich sehr freuen, wenn im Zuge der Debatte auch in der Konferenz über die Zukunft Europas gerade die parlamentarische Demokratie mit Initiativrecht und dergleichen entsprechend gestärkt werden würde.

 
  
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  Klára Dobrev (S&D). – Madam President, let us be brave. Let us talk bravely. Let us start building the United States of Europe.

(Applause)

Europe has achieved a lot in the past decades, but it’s not enough. The world is changing, so Europe must change too. The threats, the challenges, became global, so the European Union has to become a global player. I do understand that changing – especially changing ourselves – is always frightening, but I would say that fear is a bad advisor. So that’s why I say: let us start to build a stronger, more federal and more democratic Europe. I call for an alliance of the brave. Let us build a United States of Europe, and I promise that the next generation are going to be proud of us in exactly the same way as we are proud of the founding fathers of the Union.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Cristian Ghinea (Renew). – Doamnă președintă, doamnă comisar, dorim să implicăm cetățenii în această Conferință, dar nu trebuie să fie o implicare formală. Există o metodă de a-i implica pe cetățeni într-un mod consistent – se numește juriu cetățenesc – și vă recomand, doamnă comisar, să folosiți această metodă.

În același timp, vreau să răspund provocării colegului de la Grupul Verzilor, Niklas Nienass. ... (răspunzând afirmațiilor lui Niklas Nienass)... Dragă Niklas, eu mi-aș dori ca Guy Verhofstadt să conducă această Conferință, mi-aș dori să avem un lider, și puternic, la această Conferință, și haideți să o facem împreună.

Ați văzut astăzi, la această dezbatere, discursul lui Guy a fost cel mai ascultat – poate cel mai interesant moment al acestei dezbateri. Până și colegii de la partidul Brexit, cărora o să le simțim lipsa foarte curând, au ascultat atent. Noi, toți, am ascultat cu atenție. Haideți să-l promovăm pe Guy Verhofstadt la conducerea acestei Conferințe, ca să avem o dezbatere reală la nivel european.

 
  
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  Tomas Tobé (PPE). – Fru talman! Kommissionären! De problem som Europa står inför löses inte genom att man går iväg ifrån samarbete, genom att man lämnar det europeiska samarbetet. Men det handlar inte heller om att skapa Europas Förenta stater. Det handlar i stället om att sätta fokus på de samhällsproblem som kräver mer svar.

Vi behöver bekämpa terrorismen och den gränsöverskridande brottsligheten bättre tillsammans i Europa. Vi behöver mer av en gemensam invandringspolitik. Vi behöver säkerställa att vi får en modern och effektiv klimatpolitik, tala mer gemensamt med en utrikespolitisk röst och stärka vårt försvarsarbete.

Om detta borde konferensen om Europas framtid handla. Inte om hur vi ser på valsystem eller hur vi ska ändra befogenheter inom vårt samarbete, utan om ett politiskt ledarskap som löser de samhällsproblem som Europa står inför. Det är det som i förlängningen kommer att kunna säkerställa att vi får ett ökat stöd för det europeiska samarbetet. Låt nu inte ytterkanterna i politiken här i Europa vara de som sätter agendan, utan låt voice of reason vara det som styr detta. Jag är helt säker på att vi då kommer att få ett starkt stöd för det som Europa behöver.

 
  
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  Javier Moreno Sánchez (S&D). – Señora presidenta, señorías, la construcción europea ha sido y sigue siendo un proceso constituyente, abierto y transparente al servicio del destino común que compartimos todos los europeos. Diez años después de la entrada en vigor del Tratado de Lisboa, la celebración de la conferencia nos brinda una gran oportunidad para construir directamente con los ciudadanos el futuro de Europa a través de un diálogo participativo y representativo a nivel europeo, nacional, regional y local.

Son muchas las ideas que debatiremos, pero creo que el pleno respeto por parte del Consejo al proceso del Spitzenkandidat, el derecho de iniciativa legislativa de este Parlamento, del Parlamento Europeo, y la eliminación del derecho de veto de los Estados en el Consejo, con el paso a la mayoría cualificada, deberán estar en el corazón de las discusiones.

Espero que las instituciones europeas trabajen conjuntamente, y con los ciudadanos, para lograrlo con valentía política.

 
  
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  Maite Pagazaurtundúa (Renew). – Señora presidenta, señorías, somos más que unos Estados miembros. Somos más que personas aisladas. Está claro que estamos viviendo un tiempo convulso, que necesitamos mejores reglas y que los grandes problemas, los grandes desafíos, no son nacionales. Son transnacionales. Y nuestra oportunidad está aquí, en la Unión Europea.

Por eso tenemos que mirar lo peor y lo mejor desde que caminamos juntos. Pero no vamos a poder hacerlo si nos dejamos cegar por el veneno de los nacionalpopulismos. Claro que tenemos algo que aprender del Brexit: el populismo. Claro que tenemos que aprender del ultranacionalismo. Ayer se nos dijo aquí que se quiere un mecanismo europeo de autodeterminación. Para balcanizarnos, para cegarnos. Para poder destruir Europa.

Necesitamos ser fuertes, efectivamente. Necesitamos poner a la ciudadanía en el centro del sistema y necesitamos que la inteligencia artificial sea humana. Necesitamos, tal vez, ser tan fuertes que podamos llegar a una nueva convención. Necesitamos ciudadanía europea, no destruir Europa. No más fronteras.

 
  
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  Sven Simon (PPE). – Frau Präsidentin, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! Diese schöne Debatte hat gezeigt, dass wir zehn Jahre nach dem Vertrag von Lissabon eine Reform der Verträge brauchen. Das oberste Ziel dieser Konferenz über die Zukunft Europas muss es sein, die Handlungsfähigkeit der Europäer zu stärken. Und dann haben wir in der Debatte auch ganz schön gesehen, dass wir noch nicht die richtige Art und Weise in diesem supranationalen Gebilde gefunden haben, wie wir den demokratischen Prozess organisieren.

Ich fand die Debatte, die wir heute geführt haben, sehr schön. Es ging um direktdemokratische Elemente, es ging um parlamentarische Demokratie. Eines sollten wir nicht tun: Wir sollten keine Spaltung herbeiführen zwischen den Bürgern da und dem Parlament hier. Das Parlament kann schlauer werden durch diese Konferenz, und wir sollten die Menschen beteiligen. Aber am Schluss haben wir in Europa nach 300 Jahren gelernt, dass parlamentarische repräsentative Demokratie das beste Mittel ist, Demokratie zu organisieren.

Unabhängig vom Ausgang der Konferenz halte ich es für wichtig, dass wir eine europäische Öffentlichkeit herstellen, und dieses Parlament muss die Plattform für diese Öffentlichkeit sein. Deshalb hat eine fraktionsübergreifende Gruppe heute einen Brief geschrieben – auch an Sie, Frau Präsidentin –, dass wir diese Plenardebatte reformieren. Wir sollten da vorne stehen als Rednerinnen und Redner, uns gegenseitig anschauen, hier unten sitzen, dass wir eine lebendige Debatte haben, die auch in den Medien übertragbar ist.

 
  
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  Brando Benifei (S&D). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa apre un ambizioso processo di dialogo tra le istituzioni e i cittadini, che deve essere ben strutturato.

L'obiettivo è quello di far emergere una proposta di riforma dell'Unione sulla base di istanze e bisogni concreti. Bisogna porre l'accento sui contenuti e dare all'Europa la possibilità di occuparsene, partendo da temi che hanno un impatto tangibile sulla vita delle persone, come la tassazione, la lotta ai cambiamenti climatici, le politiche sociali ma anche la politica estera, argomento alla ribalta in questi giorni.

La nostra risoluzione mette nero su bianco l'impegno del Parlamento europeo affinché le conclusioni della conferenza siano rispettate, abbiano un seguito effettivo tramite specifiche misure legislative, tramite la modifica dei trattati, perché abbiamo bisogno oggi della federazione europea.

Il Parlamento deve esercitare un ruolo di guida, che credo sia la migliore garanzia contro il rischio che la conferenza si trasformi invece in una vetrina politico-elettorale di qualche leader, oppure sia usata per vidimare accordi intergovernativi al ribasso. Lo dobbiamo impedire e lo impediremo, per difendere davvero il futuro dell'Europa.

 
  
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  Gilles Boyer (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, lorsque comme moi et comme d’autres, nous sommes nombreux sur ces bancs à découvrir ce Parlement, le premier défi est de comprendre comment il fonctionne et si nous, nous avons parfois des difficultés, c’est dire à quel point la distance est grande pour que les citoyens européens s’approprient le fonctionnement de nos institutions.

Dans notre intérêt commun, l’un des premiers objectifs de cette conférence devrait être, à mon avis, d’apporter de la clarté à notre fonctionnement et cela commence par la clarté au moment le plus emblématique, c’est-à-dire au moment des élections européennes, qui est celui où les citoyens sont le plus sensibilisés à nos questions. En mai dernier, le mécanisme des Spitzenkandidaten (candidats têtes de liste) a été présenté comme un progrès démocratique, mais à lui seul – et les événements l’ont démontré – il ne suffit pas. En revanche, il trouvera toute sa pertinence si, dans le même temps, les citoyens européens peuvent se prononcer sur des listes transnationales et donnent ainsi clairement mandat à une personnalité européenne pour tenter de réunir une majorité autour de son nom.

Des listes européennes pour des élections européennes, c’est, je crois, un bel objectif.

 
  
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  Karlo Ressler (PPE). – Madam President, the European Union today is significantly different from what it was only a decade ago when the Lisbon Treaty entered into force. We are witnessing truly unprecedented technological and economic, but also demographic, changes. This clearly affects the way we live, the way we work and the way we communicate, but it also has an impact on the demand for a more active role for our citizens in our democracy.

This is why we have the responsibility to offer new and innovative ways for Europeans to be included more in the decisions that matter to them. Since young Europeans are often the ones who really lead the transformative trends in our societies, they can certainly offer a unique point of view.

I’m also glad that Vice—President Šuica will lead the Commission’s work on the conference. This is because, for its success, it is really crucial to understand all the European diversities and to include the special perspectives of our citizens coming from all corners of Europe. Because of that, it is really important to include all those perspectives. This conference should certainly not be a box—ticking exercise. We have to be constructive, we have to be inclusive, and we have to adapt Europe for the new world and for the new generations.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Heléne Fritzon (S&D). – Fru talman! Kommissionär! Demokratiska värderingar, grundläggande rättigheter, klimatomställning, social rättvisa, jämlikhet och jämställdhet. Det är precis dessa viktiga frågor som framtidsdebatten om Europa ska handla om. En konferens om Europas framtid där man också måste vända sig till den unga generationen.

Jag blev glad i dag när jag kunde lyssna till en livlig debatt där flera av våra unga, också nyvalda, parlamentariker har deltagit i framtidsdebatten. Det är bra. Framtidsdebatten måste handla om det viktiga som stärker Europa. Vi måste visa engagemang och beslutsamhet. Vi måste hålla ihop ett Europa där vi lyfter fram hoppet, där vi ger den unga generationen hopp om Europas framtid.

 
  
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  László Trócsányi (PPE). – Tisztelt Elnök Asszony, Biztos Asszony! Az Európai Unió jövőjéről szóló konferencia esélyt ad arra, hogy az Európai Unió a megrendült bizalom visszaszerzése érdekében lépéseket tegyen, és így lendületet, új lendületet kapjon az európai építkezés. Fontos a részvételi demokrácia, de ügyeljünk arra, hogy egymásra ideológiai nézeteket ne erőltessük. Ezért óvakodjunk, nehogy ideológiai misszionáriusok rátelepedjenek a konferenciára. Számunkra egyszerre kell fontosnak lenni a tradíciónak és a megújulásnak. Nem feledhetjük az alapító atyák és a kereszténydemokrácia szellemiségének megőrzését, de az olyan új kérdésekre is választ kell keresnünk, mint az európai életmód tartalmi meghatározása. Európai identitás csak a tagállami identitások elismerése és tisztelete mellett épülhet ki. A konferencia csak akkor lehet sikeres, ha elfogadjuk, az Európai Unió egy olyan érték- és érdekközösség, amelynek pillérei alulról felfelé ívelnek és jelmondata: Egység a sokszínűségben. Már csak ezért sem fogadható el az Európai Egyesült Államoknak az eszméje.

 
  
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  Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz (S&D). – Madam President, the Conference on the Future of Europe comes at the best possible moment. In the last quarter of a century, the world has changed significantly. The economy, technology, communications and the share of power in global relations – all that is new.

Dangerous climate change and the demographic explosion in many regions create an urgent need to act. Europe must adapt itself to the new reality, and Europeans have to understand this situation. The Conference can and should diagnose the problems and prescribe the remedies. The basic condition of success is unprecedentedly broad participation of the citizens of the EU.

Conferences, agoras, consultations – all that is necessary, but it is not sufficient. We should make full use of communication online. I believe that the best way is to have pan-European consultative referenda with the participation of millions of people. It would strengthen democracy, make the people active citizens and give them satisfaction from having had a say.

 
  
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  Eva Maydell (PPE). – Madam President, the idea of reconnecting with our citizens is an essential tool, and not a recreational toy, and no one should be playing with it. We should ask our citizens what Europe they envisage, and we should do it sincerely, honestly, and truthfully. If we say that we need to hear from them, then we must be ready to listen and also to implement. It has been the biggest direct democracy exercise of Europe for the last decade, and we cannot initiate it with a prepared vision for the end and final results.

We all know that, in some capitals, treaty changes are being drafted. Projects like a Europe of various speeds or blockages like the one of North Macedonia may not be what the people want. They may not be happy to simply play the role of a rubber stamp. The preparation of those conferences should be focused not on assigning posts and inventing mechanisms to steer the public debates, but on how to hear what our citizens have to say and implement that. Perhaps those old habits are exactly the reason why we have to reconnect with our citizens today.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Raphaël Glucksmann (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, pendant trop longtemps dans les institutions européennes a dominé cette idée que l’on pouvait faire l’Europe sans les peuples, non pas contre les peuples – laissons cette rhétorique aux nationalistes –, pour les peuples, certes, mais sans eux.

Cette logique a atteint ses limites et nous sommes aujourd’hui au bord du gouffre. Alors oui, 100 fois oui, cette conférence pour refonder l’Union européenne est plus que nécessaire, mais il faut que les citoyens soient directement impliqués dans ces travaux, il faut que le débat sorte des institutions pour irriguer l’ensemble de nos sociétés. Comment renforcer notre démocratie européenne, comment construire une armée commune, comment établir une fiscalité commune? Ces questions et tant d’autres doivent être débattues et tranchées en impliquant le maximum de citoyens. Il ne s’agit pas simplement de consulter mais de co-construire.

Alors, chers collègues, cette conférence doit marquer un nouveau départ, pas simplement par ses conclusions, mais aussi dans sa méthode. Dans sa méthode même, elle doit ouvrir l’ère d’une citoyenneté européenne active et non plus passive, l’ère d’un véritable débat public transnational. Soit nous démocratisons, soit nous mourrons, alors démocratisons.

 
  
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  Daniel Buda (PPE). – Doamna președintă, viitorul Europei reprezintă, fără discuție, o preocupare a noastră, a fiecăruia dintre noi. Apreciez astfel că este binevenită soluția prin care se pun bazele Conferinței privind viitorul Europei. Cetățenii europeni trebuie să aibă posibilitatea să dezbată despre cum va arăta ziua de mâine în Europa, dar și să își poată exprima propria viziune despre acest subiect.

Societatea civilă și toate părțile interesate la nivel european, național, regional și local trebuie să contribuie la consolidarea viitorului european, respectând, în același timp, un set de valori inalienabile și indestructibile, modelând, de asemenea, Uniunea Europeană așa cum ne-o dorim. Fie că vorbim de mediu și climă, de sectorul economic și social, drepturile și libertățile cetățeanului european trebuie să fie garantate.

Tinerii sunt, în același timp, cei mai afectați de deciziile care se iau într-un fel sau altul. Tocmai de aceea trebuie să li se creeze spațiul necesar unde aceștia să își poată exprima opiniile, precum și să își prezinte soluțiile pentru viitorul lor și al Europei.

 
  
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  Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D). – Madam President, I hope that the Parliament – the great majority here – is ready to prepare the future of Europe openly and not behind closed doors. We even invite citizens to participate and to be listened to, firstly in a citizens’ agora and in an additional agora for young people, who will be the most affected by the future of Europe. There are very good signals of people’s will to participate. In last summer’s elections, participation, especially among young people, increased by over 12%.

So what kind of future? For example, in the Nordic countries we value security and foreign policy and see good opportunities to be a more serious global player. We have a strong commitment to climate action, we value social fairness and we hate ongoing tax frauds. We know that citizens also want to raise practical issues that make their lives easier and better, but that the lack of common regulation hinders this.

Dialogue gives people more of a voice to raise topics and issues between elections. This conference needs to look at the democratic aspect of the future of the EU, and the Spitzenkandidat system must be clear well before the next elections.

 
  
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  Geoffroy Didier (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, la conférence sur l’avenir de l’Europe sera-t-elle un «machin» de plus dont Emmanuel Macron a le secret pour préparer sa future campagne présidentielle ou une avancée concrète au service des peuples? L’avenir le dira.

Si vous voulez une avancée concrète, en voici une: nous avons été élus le 26 mai, notre mandat dure cinq ans, et pourtant le travail véritablement structurant ne commence que cette semaine, soit huit mois après notre élection. Que de temps perdu avec des installations successives d’institutions.

Pour améliorer l’avenir de l’Europe, je propose concrètement qu’à partir de la prochaine mandature, la Commission et le Conseil de l’Union soient installés dans les quatre semaines après l’élection des députés et qu’ainsi, à partir du 1er juillet et non du 1er janvier suivant, l’ensemble des institutions soient pleinement opérationnelles et puissent ainsi commencer leur travail au service des peuples.

Mesdames, Messieurs, nous n’avons pas été élus pour nous engluer dans la tuyauterie, nous l’avons été pour réparer l’image que les peuples peuvent avoir de ce très beau projet qu’est l’Europe.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Radan Kanev (PPE). – Madame la Présidente, j’ai décidé aujourd’hui de m’exprimer en français car je voudrais vous faire part de mon indignation contre l’idée d’une Europe à plusieurs vitesses, dont le président Macron est le promoteur principal. Les pays européens peuvent en effet suivre des trajectoires de développement à des vitesses différentes et cela peut même arranger les bureaucrates et les administrations. Cependant, notre débat ne concerne pas le bien-être des gouvernements. Il doit être centré sur les citoyens européens, il concerne les peuples de l’Europe et même les peuples des pays associés comme la Macédoine du Nord ou l’Albanie. Les peuples ne se meuvent pas à des vitesses différentes dans leur effort d’atteindre la liberté, la prospérité et l’état de droit. Promouvoir une Europe stratifiée est une erreur, et une telle politique produira des effets pervers.

 
  
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  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señora presidenta, cuando en 2009, por fin, entró en vigor el Tratado de Lisboa, el entonces presidente del Consejo, señor Van Rompuy, anunció en esta Cámara que sería el Tratado con el que viviríamos el resto de nuestras vidas. Y, sin embargo, diez años después, al arrancar la Comisión von der Leyen pone en marcha una Conferencia sobre el Futuro de Europa, de la que puede venir una reforma de los Tratados

¿Cuál es la razón? Pues que, coincidiendo con el Tratado de Lisboa, la Unión Europea se sumerge en la peor crisis de su historia. Gran recesión, exasperación de las desigualdades, aplicación del artículo 7 a dos Estados miembros, un Estado miembro que abandona la Unión ―el Brexit― y, sobre todo, en este Parlamento, incremento del número de escaños que representan nacionalismo excluyente y supremacista y populismo reaccionario.

Este Parlamento no tiene ningún déficit de legitimación democrática. Es la única institución directamente electiva. No tiene déficit de competencias, aunque puedan ser reforzadas. Es un parlamento legislativo, pero debe aprovechar la oportunidad de la Conferencia para reconectar con la … (La presidenta retira la palabra al orador)

 
  
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  Valter Flego (Renew). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, mislim da je ova Konferencija o budućnosti Europe fantastična prilika da čujemo kakvu zaista Europu građani žele. Ono što je važno iz njihovih potreba, iz njihovih želja, mi ćemo doći do ideje koju trebamo napraviti, a to je kako promijeniti, kako reformirati ovu Europu. Postavlja se pitanje kako ćemo moći mjeriti uspjeh Konferencije. Mislim da na dva načina. Prvi definitivno jesu zaključci koje će trebati provesti, a drugo je broj građana koji će se uključiti u tu konferenciju. Zato je važno maksimalno motivirati građane, zato je važno nadoknaditi im troškove putovanja, ali i uključiti nevladine udruge, uključiti maksimalno sve zainteresirane strane i ne pitati građane jednom u pet godina kakvu Europu žele, već sada u sljedeće dvije godine maksimalno im dati glasa, a nakon toga djelovati.

 
  
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  Joachim Stanisław Brudziński (ECR). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Na początku chciałbym nadmienić, że od początku tej debaty, od godziny dziewiątej rano jestem tutaj na miejscu i przysłuchuję się wszystkim głosom, wszystkie głosy przyjmuję z szacunkiem, niektóre z rozbawieniem. Co najbardziej mnie rozbawiło? Ano Wasze stwierdzenie – zwracam się tutaj do lewej strony sali – jak ważne są dla Was głosy obywateli Unii Europejskiej. A jakie są fakty? Osoba, która najwięcej z nas wszystkich tutaj zebranych uzyskała głosów w bezpośrednich wyborach, była premier rządu polskiego pani Beata Szydło Waszą decyzją, decyzją Waszych rodzin politycznych nie została przewodniczącą komisji. Inny z moich kolegów, profesor Krasnodębski, Waszą decyzją nie został jako przedstawiciel grupy ECR wiceprzewodniczącym Parlamentu Europejskiego. To mnie rozbawiło. Rozbawiło mnie również stwierdzenie, że przyszłość Europy zależna jest od tego, jakie będą decyzje w sprawie czołowych kandydatów na przewodniczącego Komisji albo czy przewodniczącym tej konferencji zostanie pan Verhofstadt. Padały tutaj nazwiska ojców założycieli. Warto przypomnieć słowa jednego z nich: „Przyszłość Europy – tak...”. (Przewodnicząca odebrała mówcy głos)

 
  
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  Marc Botenga (GUE/NGL). – Voorzitter, ik denk dat er hier mensen zijn... (maakt zin niet af)... Ik hoor van rechts dat er vertrouwen is in de Europese Unie. Ik hoor dat ook van enkele socialisten en enkele groenen. Ik wil toch herhalen dat één op de twee burgers niet gestemd heeft tijdens de laatste Europese verkiezingen. Er is een democratische crisis binnen de Europese Unie, en u bent die aan het onderschatten. Waar komt die crisis vandaan? Op het moment dat de Fransen tegen de Europese grondwet hebben gestemd, heeft u hen genegeerd. De Nederlanders deden hetzelfde: ze werden genegeerd. Toen de Ieren tegen het Verdrag van Lissabon stemden, moesten ze opnieuw gaan stemmen. Daarna kregen we de Grieken die stemden tegen het besparingsbeleid: platgewalst. En dan staat u verbaasd dat de Britten geen sociaal alternatief zien in deze Europese Unie. Die crisis gaat u niet oplossen met een conferentie van enkele establishmentpolitici, misschien zelfs geleid door Guy Verhofstadt. Zo gaat het niet lukken.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, first of all, let me thank you for this very vivid and fruitful debate. I have listened carefully to today’s points and taken note of your views. It is my role to listen to you.

The start date of the Conference is yet to be confirmed, but the listening process itself has already started. We are already reflecting and engaging with as many actors as possible. We will need the cooperation of the Commission representation offices and the European Parliament liaison offices in the Member States, who already do tremendous work to bring the European Union closer to its citizens.

We need them, now more than ever, to lead our efforts. Let us remember how this feeds into other areas of my work as Vice-President for Democracy and Demography. We want to hear from all people of all ages and, of course, from the young. I thank the younger Members of Parliament for today’s debate.

I also have to thank Pascal Durand, Daniel Freund and Ruiz Devesa Domènec for mentioning NGOs. Of course, we haven’t forgotten NGOs. They will be included, and that was our idea from the beginning. We also have to take care of the older generation, whom we wish to encourage in their active contribution to our society and economy.

Of course, this concerns not only NGOs or older people, but also minorities, entrepreneurs, students, regional and local authorities, mayors and everyone who can say something on the structure, scope and the content of the Conference.

These views will feed into my work on demography. We want to provide real and workable solutions for our citizens. Our democracy is in need of creative and innovative solutions. The results of this process – whatever they are – must be tangible, must be implemented and must be based on the feedback we receive from our citizens.

As I already said, this is no longer business as usual. We must be brave and embrace the innovative nature of this process. Not everything needs to be known in advance, but we are providing the solid structure necessary for full citizen participation, both online and in person. I want to ensure that every voice is heard and listened to, and that we follow up on it accordingly. It is vital that this process remains open and transparent. I do not want to pre—empt what the citizens have to say, on the contrary, I want to be surprised by them.

I’m sure that, together, we can also surprise the citizens. But we, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council, we can do this only by working closely together as real partners. I want to thank you once again for this fruitful debate.

 
  
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  Nikolina Brnjac, President-in-Office of the Council. – Madam President, to conclude, I wish to thank you for the very useful debate we had today. I have listened carefully to your views on this important subject and taken note of Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

This process, which requires long-term vision, should focus on the topics and policies that will continue to be at the forefront of our citizens’ preoccupations in the years to come, especially of the youth. Let me assure you that our part of the Presidency will continue working towards a definition of the Council position on the Conference on the basis of which to engage with this House and the Commission.

As stated by President Sassoli and Vice—President Šuica, cooperation among other institutions will be key to making the most of this idea. I am confident that I can count on your cooperation to find together the right formula so that this initiative can be launched on a shared basis to deliver results for our citizens. Thank you very much once again for your attention.

 
  
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  President. – I have received three motions for resolutions tabled in accordance with Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place shortly.

Written statements (Rule 171)

 
  
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  Εμμανουήλ Φράγκος (ECR), γραπτώς. – Η Διάσκεψη για το μέλλον της Ευρώπης πρέπει να λάβει υπόψιν της την επιτακτική ανάγκη για ενίσχυση της δημοκρατικής νομιμοποίησης και αποκατάσταση της εμπιστοσύνης των πολιτών στη διοίκηση. Επαναλαμβάνουμε ότι η Ευρώπη του μέλλοντος πρέπει να φροντίσουμε να παραμείνει μια Χριστιανική Ευρώπη. Πρέπει να παύσουμε να εθελοτυφλούμε στα κρίσιμα ζητήματα. Η μαζική λαθρομετανάστευση, που αλλοιώνει την ευρωπαϊκή ομοιογένεια και τον ευρωπαϊκό τρόπο ζωής, πρέπει να αντιμετωπιστεί άμεσα και αποτελεσματικά, εάν αυτή είναι η Ευρώπη που θέλουμε: μια Ευρώπη με ισχυρή γεωπολιτική θέση και ενεργό ρόλο στη διεθνή σκακιέρα· μια Ευρώπη που θα ηγείται στο παγκόσμιο εμπόριο και στην οικονομική ανάπτυξη και σταθερότητα· μια Ευρώπη των πολιτών, που θα είναι σε θέση να προστατεύσει τα κυριαρχικά της δικαιώματα από έκνομες ενέργειες τρίτων κρατών· μια Ευρώπη με περισσότερη δημοκρατία και με μεγαλύτερη αυτονομία των μελών της, και όχι μια συγκεντρωτική και ολιγαρχική Ένωση. Εμείς αυτήν την Ευρώπη θέλουμε και γι’ αυτήν την Ευρώπη θα αγωνιστούμε.

 
  
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  Carlos Zorrinho (S&D), por escrito. – É muito importante que o Parlamento Europeu se pronuncie hoje, de forma determinada e oportuna, e através de uma resolução consensualizada de forma abrangente, sobre os objetivos e as metodologias a adotar na Conferência sobre o Futuro da Europa.

Esta Conferência, embora seja promovida pelo Parlamento Europeu, pela Comissão e pelo Conselho, e envolva o Comité das Regiões e o Comité Económico e Social, tem que mobilizar os Governos e os Parlamentos nacionais e regionais, as organizações da sociedade civil de toda a União Europeia e, em particular, os cidadãos, reforçando o seu sentido de pertença ao projeto europeu e dando-lhes voz, não apenas para avaliar as decisões dos órgãos democráticos representativos mas, também, para propor e exigir prioridades, medidas e soluções concretas.

Depois de múltiplos debates e reflexões que não geraram o impulso reformador necessário na União Europeia, a Conferência que se propõe lançar em 9 de maio e realizar até 2022 tem que ser acompanhada pela concretização de políticas fortes de convergência e coesão, traduzidas no Pacto Ecológico Europeu, no Programa Plurianual de Financiamento e numa arquitetura da zona euro que reforce os recursos próprios da União e o seu posicionamento num mundo cada vez mais competitivo.

 
  
 

(The sitting was suspended at 11.58)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. DAVID MARIA SASSOLI
Presidente

 
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