Sassoli: “EU leaders must rediscover the vision, courage and ambition of Jacques Delors” 


Extracts of the speech of President Sassoli to the Jacques Delors Institute on 29 November 2019

Yesterday evening the European Parliament President David Sassoli used a speech at the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris to call on EU leaders to rediscover the former European Commission President’s ambition and reforming zeal to tackle the many challenges Europe faces. President Sassoli said:

“During his ten years at the head of the European Commission, he was able to reinvent Europe. The world today is no longer the world of 1995. Faced with its challenges, we, European leaders must rediscover the vision, courage and ambition that Jacques Delors had. We must collectively take up the torch he left."

The Parliament President went on to discuss the current challenges that Europe faces, from rising inequality to climate change:

“Our social model still guarantees the protection of the weak but it is fragile... Inequality is increasing creating a breeding ground for populism. These inequalities are not only economic and social. They are also geographical and cultural. Several worlds are developing in parallel in Europe: between the center and the periphery, the cities and the countryside, those who have access to services, education, travel, and others who do not. Rethinking inclusion must be at the heart of what we do.

“The young people of our countries remind us of the climate emergency. Many are very determined and their commitment must be our pride. They remind us that our model of growth must be adapted. The Green New Deal must be at the center of the work of the new Commission."

On the approval of the new Commission, the President added:

“It has allowed for a very positive and constructive dialogue between Parliament and the Commission. It is true that none of the Spitzenkandidaten is at the head of the Commission, but the program for the next five years has been largely amended by MEPs. Parliament has shown that it is the one who gives political impetus. What role it may formally have lost in June, it regained in autumn."

The President finished by stressing the need for a well-funded EU budget:

“We have the capabilities. We now must give ourselves the means. Parliament is firm and resolute in its request to increase the Union's budget to 1.3% of GNI. It is not a battle of numbers. It is giving oneself the means to answer the challenges of the future. To adapt our economy to climate change, the digital revolution and artificial intelligence, to maintain and modernise our solidarity systems, both within the European Union and in the wider world.”

The full speech is available here.