During today’s State of the Union, ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt called upon President Juncker to use the last two years of his Presidency to launch a reform agenda:
“The populists announced a populist spring, but reaped the opposite. A boomerang in their face: the rise of pro-European parties. Because since Brexit, it’s clear what our citizens want. Reform Europe, yes! Destroy Europe, no bloody way.”
Verhofstadt warned: “But make no mistake. The fight is far from over. This is no time to sit back and to relax. People don’t want “this” Europe, they want to change Europe.”
“73 per cent want more European action to solve migration, 75 per cent want more European action against climate change, the same number want a European army and even more want European capabilities to fight terrorism.”
“The time has come to build the Europe the people are asking for:
- A real European asylum system so that we can replace the broken Dublin system;
- A real European border and coast guard, so that people no longer die on our shores.
- A European defense union, so that we, ourselves, are in charge of our backyard and not always Russians or Americans.
- A European FBI so that we are really able to fight the terrorists, terrorists who know no borders.
- A real government for the Eurozone so we can steer the European economy, create European companies that become world champions.”
Verhofstadt concluded: “We also need to strengthen our European democracy.”
“That’s why I’m fighting for transnational lists, for a real European constituency. So that we lift our democracy to a continental scale. Europe is more than just the sum of 27 national democracies. Our European executive needs to be matched by a powerful parliament.”
“Our European executive needs to be matched by a powerful parliament that defends our European principles and values against governments in Poland and Hungary. “Alt-right governments”, who believe Trump is the example, Trump with his white supremacy. Or Putin or Erdogan who jail their democratic opponents.”
Let’s make Europe the counterweight of all this. A beacon of openness, of freedom, of hope for the 21st century.”
Vice President of the European Parliament Pavel Telicka (ANO, Czech Republic) congratulated President Juncker with his speech:
“I can very well work with what you have said. With this vision and these ideas I can enter the Czech political arena.”
“Let’s forget the five scenarios, three were not scenarios at all. The implementation of your proposals will lead to the outcome of the sixth scenario, the Union we want to have.
“We are in a better shape, but there is still a lack of unity in the Council. A lack of political will to implement in the Member States what we have decided.”