On this evening of Thursday, 6 March In Dublin our European sister parties The European People’s Party (EPP) will convene a statutory Summit of EPP heads of state and government and party leaders.
The Summit will address the decisions of the extraordinary European Council earlier Thursday, which was convened to discuss the situation in Ukraine, as well as the final preparations for the EPP campaign for the European elections.
EPP meeting in Dublin for EPP2014 Elections Congress are determined to lead Europe out of the crisis. The financial and economic crisis has affected all Europeans. It was caused by a diverse range of factors, including excessive public and private debt, a lack of competitiveness in certain Member States, flawed regulation of financial markets and insufficient integration in the Euro area. For many citizens, this has led to very difficult challenges, which we must strive to overcome together.
In this crisis, the EPP is the party of responsible government. Some of this depends on us as individuals, but it also depends on the way we organize ourselves. In our communities, regions, nation states and in the European Union.
Many national and regional laws derive from European legislation. Our daily lives and our futures are influenced by the decisions taken in the European Parliament. “Our planet, our freedom, our resources: If we want them to last, we have to treat them with care”.
In 2009 and 2010, EPP parties in governments reacted quickly and decisively in order to pull Europe back from the brink of disaster. In 2011 and 2012, we kept the Euro area together. We have set the agenda for economic reform and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation in the
Member States. Now, we are considering the fundamental changes which are needed to reform the EU itself, so that it will be in a position to face the challenges ahead with confidence and secure a bright future for our citizens. The preservation and sustainability of the euro area is also of crucial importance to countries that do not use the euro as their currency.
It is time to re-affirm the values of the Social Market Economy. It requires balancing the principles of freedom and solidarity, along with the need for free markets and the common good.
First and foremost, in order to better serve the interests of all Europeans, we need a stronger European Union. Sharing the same currency in the euro area requires closer coordination on national budgetary and economic strategies.
A strong EU is also key to creating a successful security policy, protecting our citizens at home and our interests around the world. Above all, a strong EU is the best answer to the challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, the EU must become a genuine Political Union.
The EPP does not believe that a further exacerbation of debt and deficit levels is the right way to exit from the crisis and create growth in Europe. We stand for fiscal consolidation implemented in a growth-friendly manner. We need to strike the right balance between fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing policies, which support the real economy and help to create new, stable jobs, in order to tackle high unemployment rates and protect social cohesion.
No country can face the challenges of the 21st century alone. Either we become stronger together, or weaker in isolation. This is true for foreign and defence policy, climate protection and energy policy and, perhaps most of all, for fiscal, economic and social policy. Therefore, on strategic matters, our member states must enhance their cooperation and act together.
The European Union involves all of us. We need to preserve and be proud of our diversity, traditions and cultural heritage. Respect for diversity has always been an essential element of Europe’s success.
There is no future for the Union without the involvement of its people. The Union itself has to be within the citizen’s reach, comprehensible and simple. National parliaments must become more pro-active and involved in European decision-making within the framework of national constitutions.
The outcome of the next European elections in May this year will determine the direction of EU policy on a range of important issues, which in turn will have a significant impact on the lives of over 500 million European citizens.
These elections must be viewed as an opportunity for a truly European debate on European issues, an opportunity to consider our long term future. The successful European project has reached a critical juncture. The European Union is the solution to the crisis, not the cause.
That is why it is so important to make the right choice in the 2014 European elections. The European Union we need in order to better serve the interests of all Europeans.
The European Union is a community of values and a community of law. It is founded on Europe’s rich culture and long history which have helped our political family to develop its central values and principles: freedom, responsibility, justice, security, respect for the dignity.
The European People’s Party has always been the driving force of European integration. It has contributed to the fall of Communism, welcomed new Member States and championed an ever closer union. Over time, it has become Europe’s largest political family and today, its member parties are in government in a majority of EU countries.
Today the European Union has also conveyed a strong message of support to the Prime Minister Yatseniuk and his government. And through them to the Ukrainian citizens.
Not only we have reiterated the European Union’s commitment to signing the Association Agreement – including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area -, we have also decided, as a matter of priority, that we will sign very shortly the political chapters. This means notably the general principles, the part on political cooperation and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the Association Agreement. This will seal the political association of the European Union and Ukraine.
“This is the certainly the most serious situation we are facing in the European continent in many years in terms of stability and threats to peace. We need to show our citizens and the people of Ukraine that we are up to this task” President of the European Commission Remarks following the extraordinary meeting of EU Heads of State and Government on Ukraine.
The solution to the crisis in Ukraine must be based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as the strict adherence to international standards. Our heads of state and government consider that the decision by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to hold a referendum on the future status of the territory is contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution and therefore illegal.
“We endorse the conclusions adopted by the Council on 3 March.We strongly condemn the unprovoked violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation and call on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its armed forces to the areas of their permanent stationing, in accordance with the relevant agreements”.Statement of the Heads of State Brussels, 6 March 2014
In order to shape the future it is essential to remember the past. Exactly one hundred years ago, the lights went out all over Europe.
The year 1914 marked the beginning of the most devastating war Europe had ever experienced, claiming many millions of lives, and destroying the future of a whole generation. 75 years ago, the world was set alight again.
Today, such catastrophes seem unthinkable in Europe. That is the case because we have been sharing strength, political power, wealth and knowledge over the decades of closer European integration.
The European Union is a community of values and a community of law. It is founded on Europe’s rich culture and long history which have helped our political family to develop its central values and principles: freedom, responsibility, justice, security, respect for the dignity. Replacing the rule of the powerful with the rule of law through common institutions and democratic procedures by fostering the community method, which has allowed us to ensure that the strong are just and the weak are secure.
These are achievements that belong to all of us, and we should not allow ourselves to forget them. We are proud that the EU received the Peace Nobel Prize in 2012.
Europe has come a long way. The European People’s Party has contributed more to the development of the European Union than any other political force. The founding fathers of a united Europe were Christian Democrats.
Over the last 50 years, the men and women of the European People’s Party have been at the forefront of improving and successively expanding the Union, as well as introducing the Euro. All this enabled us to live in peace, security and increasing prosperity over five decades.