Europe needs to build a new project that innovates, protects and illuminates, Parliament president David Sassoli told EU leaders.
Sassoli spoke at the beginning of a Council summit of EU heads of state and government which took place in Brussels on Thursday. In his speech, Sassoli said he wanted to draw attention to gaps in the European project and not just focus on matters of current concern.
While Europe has moved forward on various policy matters such as the Green Deal and the digital transition, the pandemic is still not subsiding and the EU is not progressing like it should, the Parliament president said.
Therefore, he emphasised, the EU needs a new project of hope “to unite us all, a project that embodies our Union, our values and our civilisation, a project whose worth is clear for all Europeans to see and which can be our rallying point.”
The three keywords
In his vision, the project should be a “three-pronged approach” with a Europe that innovates, protects and illuminates.
Regarding innovation, this should not just be understood as a need for technical innovation, but as much a general sense of creativity in the EU institutions, in policy-making, actions and even in the way of living. Here, he stressed that the Conference of the Future of Europe “should help us find innovative ways of reawakening the feeling that Europe is a project with which all Europeans can identify.”
He mentioned that other ways to innovate would be to give the Parliament the right of legislative initiative as well as new own resources to boost the EU’s financial potential.
On protecting, Sassoli stressed that the EU needs to be better prepared for tomorrow’s crises which could be environmental, economic, diplomatic or military. Concretely, the Parliament president highlighted the EU’s policy measures for a common defence, external border management, minimum wages and energy poverty.
Lastly, the EU should also be a “beacon and inspiration not only for our fellow citizens in Europe, but also beyond our borders”, on democracy, freedom and prosperity. “It is now up to us to make those visions a reality so that Europe can keep its standing, and its promises, in the service of all Europeans,” he added.