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 Full text 
Verbatim report of proceedings
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Wednesday, 13 September 2023 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

State of the Union (debate)

  Frances Fitzgerald, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, the President of the Commission stressed the need to answer the call for history. This Parliament will do just that. The challenges are greater than ever, as we all know, and it was illustrated in the debate here this morning.

That’s why Europe needs to be ambitious. That’s why I welcome your proposals on leading the world in artificial intelligence, wind energy, strengthening our security and, crucially, working to enlarge our Union to include our eastern partners, including Ukraine. That’s why Europe needs to be competitive. That’s why we must reduce red tape on business. That’s why Europe must stay open for business. Strategic autonomy must not mean protectionism, subsidies and trade barriers. That’s why Europe needs to put people first. That’s why your words on combating violence this morning are vital. You were right: no means no. You have done outstanding work on gender equality. But this must become a legal reality across all the Member States, and they must examine their approach to the inclusion of rape in the Directive on Violence against Women. We have free movement, but we do not have common protections against violence for women. There can be no true equality without freedom from violence.

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