Sassoli: Strasbourg is once again the symbol of renewal 

 

Opening speech by the European Parliament President at the June Plenary Session

I welcome you to Strasbourg, whether you are in the hemicycle or connected online.

It is a very important day for the European Parliament.

After more than 15 months, we are back at our headquarters in Strasbourg.

We have lived through a terrible time, with millions of deaths and a great deal of suffering. Our daily life has changed and many of our citizens have found themselves in a difficult economic and social situation.

All of our countries have stopped, and alongside our countries, the world has stopped.

The resumption of our normal activities in Strasbourg is a sign of confidence and hope for all.

Thanks to the contribution of each and every one of you: MEPs, political groups, staff, we have been able to continue the functioning of our institution and ensured that the EU can take decisions to protect our citizens.

The European Parliament has had to adopt extraordinary measures and new working methods, to allow our Assembly to exercise its functions and make use of its prerogatives.

Parliament has always insisted on the need to emerge from this crisis stronger and more united than before, by ensuring a fair and equitable environmental and digital transition and by building a more egalitarian society, where the most vulnerable among us, those also most affected by the crisis, will not be left behind.

Thanks to our parliamentary work, we have helped improve all the instruments for exiting the crisis: Next Generation EU, the recovery and resilience mechanism, the rule of law conditionality, and the multiannual financial framework and own resources.

We will continue to work on climate legislation, the digital agenda, and the immigration and asylum pact.

Now that we are back in our home in Strasbourg, I would like to thank the French authorities for their support and cooperation during these months and the citizens of Strasbourg for their understanding and unfailing hospitality.

I also take this opportunity to greet the mayor who is present with us today.

Strasbourg is a symbol of European unity, peace and diversity. It was on this land that the absolute need for Europe was born.

It is satisfying to see that after 15 months of the pandemic, confidence in Europe is growing across public opinion in our 27 countries. We must not lose sight of the pain and sacrifice of our citizens.

Today, Strasbourg is once again the symbol of renewal.

I wish you all good work during this busy plenary!