We have been striving for decades to realise an ideal Union that delivers peace and prosperity, that empowers and protects citizens, that takes its responsibility worldwide and contributes to the global sustainable development. We are proud of our legacy and it makes us even more determined to make sure to stand today for a United Social Europe, bridging beyond divides and offering an alternative.
The European Union finds itself at an historical crossroads. Over the past five years, the EU has held its breath over the euro crisis, was shaken by rising populism, migration challenges, terrorist threats, as well as the insecurities resulting from Brexit. As crisis mode became the new normal, the notion of European solidarity between Member States is losing its meaning. Some Member States chose to channel their respective involvement away from a common project and to care only about particular immediate interests. Such an EU can neither persevere nor deliver nor give hope to citizens. Many people still feel European at heart, but they do not see the Union as the umbrella that effectively brings them together. Reconnecting TOGETHER states, regions, communities and individuals and articulating jointly a CALL to Europe is what brought us to Krakow, a city which stands at the crossroads of diversities and creativity. Working together is indispensable, in order to tackle common challenges. Our strong belief is that through dialogue, through forging mutual understanding and offering each other support we can and we will make a difference!
First, the European Union must be reinforced as a Community that was built on and derives its strength from core values. These are equality, freedom and solidarity; alongside the core principles deriving from them: peace, democracy, rule of law and social justice. These values and principles form the foundation of free, tolerant and just societies. Consequently, there can be no tolerance of those who go against these standards, who attack democratic institutions, who undermine fundamental rights and who propagate hatred and polarisation. We will pursue that battle united on all levels – international, European, national and local – and we will not shy away from taking it on in all its disguises. Â Whether it is in the ugly face of extremists and radicals, that instigate aggression among the citizens or the danger deriving from targeted misinformation practices, fake news and invasion of privacy rights. We will always protect media freedom and we rebuke without compromise any attacks on independent civil society.
Secondly, the European Union must continue embodying a promise of shared welfare, prosperity and equal opportunities for all. This means that regardless of origin, place of residence, gender, skin colour, age, belief, sexual orientation, education or any other factor,everyone should be entitled to live a prosperous life; to feel secure, supported and empowered to contribute to the society one lives in; to have chances to learn and study, as well as to engage in a meaningful decent job. With that as a mission, we will pursue ways in which the EU could ensure that everyone is indeed treated in the same way across the European labour market; that the competition is not a race to the bottom in terms of wages, but about boosting productivity by ensuring investment in people, and race to the top in terms of providing decent working conditions; that social protection and public services, including healthcare and right to pension is sufficient, making Europe live up to its trademark of being the most equitable social model in the world. For that we will also enhance efforts in terms of education, investing especially in childcare and European opportunities of programmes such as Erasmus+; we will actively fight against discrimination and provide rules on measures to better balance private and professional lives; and we will deliver on the promises of Gothenburg Summit and the agenda of the European Pillar of Social Rights. We must ensure that “no one is left behind” in this process.
Thirdly, the European Union must continue to act with solidarity and as a responsible member of the international community. That starts with upholding the pledge that has been made in the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must lead by example and not be discouraged by the withdrawal of others – pursuing the agreements that have already been made in 2015 Paris during the United Nations Climate Change Conference and reiterate them at the next round in Katowice. To that end, while safeguarding our own security, we have to make Europe much less self-centred and much more outward looking â€“ building bridges and setting standards in relation to our neighbours, implementing global agreements on refugees and deepening efforts in terms of both aid, development and ambitious fair trade policies.
A European Union that is democratic and value anchored; social and prosperous; internationalist and engaged, is the one we want to build TOGETHER. This motivates “A Call to Europe” that we address herewith to all Europeans – regardless of where they live, their gender or generation – to join us and help make it happen!