60 years after the Rome Treaties, the European Union needs to assert itself as a powerful democratic entity delivering peace, freedom, security, sustainable development and prosperity for all its citizens. For us, this is a key moment to shape a new positive future for our Union, to work for unity, cohesion and openness, against divisions and new walls, fighting against neoliberalism, nationalism and populism. Together, we stand for a clear choice:
A European Union for shared and sustainable prosperity!
We must ensure that everyone has decent living and working conditions, proper social protection and opportunities to improve their lives. Europe’s labour and social standards need to be updated and enhanced to match the challenges of the 21st century. We need a new growth model with a strong European Pillar of Social Rights, poverty reduction programmes and a true European Youth Plan capable of providing every young person with jobs, skills, digital literacy, equal treatment and more opportunities for developing new enterprises and creative ideas. Young Europeans must also be empowered in the decision making process at all levels.
We need to stimulate the economy with a powerful European investment strategy focused on sustainable development, new technologies, better jobs and stronger economic and social convergence upward. This requires a Community budget with proper own resources to ensure the right financing of European Union priorities as well as a Eurozone budget. We also need tough measures to tackle tax evasion and avoidance as well as to fight social dumping.
A European Union for strong democracy!
We reaffirm our strong commitment to basic European values. The respect for human rights, freedom, democracy, the rule of law are the fundamental principles on which our Union is based and we want an European Union that can uphold these principles and promote them beyond its borders. We stand for an open and tolerant Europe, based on equality between all people regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Full equality between women and men is a fundamental principle of European society.
If we want a European Union capable of tackling the challenges of the 21st century, it needs to have real capacity to deliver common good and it must function in an open and transparent way. Democracy and sovereignty at European level should enrich democracy and sovereignty at national level. This requires education on Europe, sharing our common cultural identity, ensuring pluralism of the media, informing citizens about their rights. European citizens must be empowered to make their democratic choices, including on European priorities and on the President of the European Commission.
A European Union for security and protection of fundamental rights!
We need to find better, durable solutions on migration and asylum. We need more solidarity and better integration. This means building up a truly European Asylum System where human rights are respected and responsibilities are shared among all member states. Refugees must find protection and all necessary support for their good integration in society. At the same time, we need to secure Europe’s external border and support peace and development in neighbouring countries.
Europe must also become more self-sufficient in terms of external and internal security. Europe needs to act more coherently on defence and security, with greater autonomy in defence capabilities and more integration in areas such as common management of operations, procurement and cybersecurity. We also need to develop greater cooperation between national police forces and have better information sharing to fight terrorism more effectively.
However, a feeling of security depends also on general living conditions, respect of citizens’ rights and an environment of tolerance instead of radicalisation. We must do more to strengthen Europeans’ socio-economic security.
A European Union for international cooperation!
At a time when some global players are undermining the multilateral principles of the international system and nationalistic tendencies are gaining strength, Europe must act as a champion of international cooperation. We need to continue standing up for peace, human rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and the fight against climate change. Our external policies and trade policy must be based on these values and goals, and focus even more on labour standards, social fairness, tax justice and environmental protection. European action is critical to reshape globalisation.
The European Union can thrive in the decades ahead, as long as we Europeans stay together and work together for better European solutions to cope with all our common challenges. We do not need a Europe a la carte. We the people are stronger than the forces of division or fear. Member states can only be strong if Europe is strong. Rome must be the moment to reaffirm why we stand united and to show common resolve in shaping a stronger future together. We need to return to the path of social justice and shared prosperity. This is Europe’s progressive choice!