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 Full text 
Thursday, 30 January 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Commission Work Programme 2020 (debate)

  Ska Keller, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, this week is indeed a traumatic one for the European Union. It’s a dramatic event that a Member State would leave, and it’s an immensely sad one as well. But I refuse to accept this historic mistake as the end. It will neither it put an end to the friendship between the people of Great Britain and on the European continent, nor will we give up hope that the UK will return home at some point – here where it belongs, to the European family. But while this week is a very sad moment, it’s not a moment at all that brings us closer to any end of the EU, for example, as some who brought about Brexit might have wanted it to: quite the opposite. If we didn’t have the EU already, it would now be the perfect moment to invent it, and the Europeans have come together because there are problems that you can only solve together and because together they are stronger in whatever challenge appears in the world. And there are plenty of challenges today, and we need to address them together.

And that’s why it’s so important this week also to discuss the work programme. This work programme will be the chance to prove what we are worth. Commissioner, you mentioned in your speech the climate crisis, which is indeed a huge challenge that every state and every continent is affected by, and it’s high time for urgent action. We’re very happy that this Commission puts an emphasis on initiatives tackling the climate crisis as well as the dramatic loss of biodiversity on our planet. It is, of course, way too early to say if they’re going to be sufficient; that will depend on the details of your proposals. But also it will depend on whether a majority of this House will support ambitious climate legislation, not to mention the Member States as well, which we need to have on board. Therefore, it will depend on all of us how much climate action the EU will undertake and how much the EU will contribute to the global efforts to save the planet after having contributed – actually, a lot – to its destruction in the past.

The Commission is also the guardian of the Treaties, and you mentioned some action in that regard to make sure that Member States don’t deviate from the rule of law, and it is time to put our common commitment into action. This year will show which way the Commission is heading, and we need courageous steps forward into a new European Union.

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