ΓΡΑΦΕΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ ΠΡΩΘΥΠΟΥΡΓΟΥ
Παρασκευή, 7 Μαρτίου 2014
Our Party, the EPP is the leading European force for three reasons:
First, because our social market economy ideology unites the Europeans, across national borders.
Second, because we have steered Europe successfully through the hardships of the economic crisis of the last four years. We had to face difficult challenges, we had to repair serious defaults of our Union structures, we had to take care of long term inherited problems in various countries.
But, take as an example the four member states of the Adjustment Program. Ireland is already out of the crisis. Portugal is out of the crisis. Cyprus has over performed expectations. Greece is also showing remarkable improvement and will soon get out of the crisis as well.
All these successes took place against all odds. Most critics were predicting collapse of our Union. We proved them wrong! Ireland, Portugal Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary and Greece have proved that Europe works. We proved them wrong. We believed in Europe. We believed in ourselves. And we made it happen. With the help of all the Member States, with the help of the Commission.
Thirdly we are leading because we are opening the way for more and better Europe. Which means:
More competitiveness in our Economies, More responsibility on the national level, More Solidarity in our Community level, More Responsiveness of our Community Institutions to the needs of common European citizens, Less Bureaucracy, faster reforms on the national level and more Integration on the Community level. All these equals to More Europe and Better Europe!
Indeed, we don’t just defend Europe against its critics. We are reforming Europe!
The Greek Presidency is a relatively short one, since we are going to have the Euroelection in May. Yet we have concluded successfully the trilogue on an impressive number of pending pieces of legislation, actually more than 30 legislative files: From the Mifid in January, to the “posting of workers” directive and the new regulation for “the financing of European political parties”, just two days ago.
And there is much more to come. Including, of course, the most challenging one, the SRM, the Single Resolution Mechanism, the center piece of our Banking Union, enhancing the stability and the credibility of our monetary Union.
The Banking Union already in good progress, Economic Governance well on its way and the Fiscal Union, are the three main responses of our Union to the recent economic crisis. But, also very significantly, is our policy to fight unemployment and especially youth unemployment…
After all, this crisis is not only about numbers. It also affects real people; their fears, their needs, their aspirations. Of course we have to invigorate the markets! But even more importantly, we have to keep societies hopeful and democracies alive! Social cohesion, democratic stability and the fight against populism and extremism of all kinds, are our top priorities in our efforts to come out of the crisis, because the end of the crisis must be new growth. Growth, not extremism, not polarization, not a divisive Europarliament, where irresponsible populists and short sighted demagogues will join to destroy the dream of our Union. We will not allow them, we are going to win those elections. The EPP Governments have proved that we can turn the crisis to an opportunity. We have proved that this particular crisis has not crippled Europe, as some hoped for; instead it has empowered Europe! It has made Europeans wiser. It has made our Europe stronger.
All of us contributed to that. But our Party’s contribution, the EPP’s contribution, was the most essential and the most crucial. We can be proud of what we did so far. And we are making sure to keep up the good work in the years to come.
I want to briefly emphasize two other items in our current agenda:
The sea policies, incorporating in a strategic context the sea dimension of sustainable growth. Including a Community framework to research and develop energy resources and sea routes for energy transport. The present drama of Ukraine should serve as a reminder.
The other novelty is a comprehensive strategy to deal with immigration flows. We have to distinguish between asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants. We must accommodate hopeless people from war ridden regions and torn down societies. But we have to discourage illegal immigration, and those criminals who facilitate it and who profit from it.
This will stabilize our periphery, especially member states on the borders of Europe, receiving the highest burden. It will also improve the security of our societies and the confidence of our citizens to the European Union. We do this because we want to export prosperity from Europe to the rest of the world and we don’t want to import destabilization from the rest of the world to Europe.
As a final note, please take a look to what is happening around us, around Europe today. From the southern Mediterranean, all the way to the Middle East, now to Ukraine: we have social crises brewing, political crises erupting, economic hardships spreading around, societies on the verge of collapse, democracies shaking from their roots and countries on the verge of civil war. All of them all looking to the European Union for help, assistance, hope and inspiration.
This is the best answer to all those populists who question our Union. There are many countries trying to join our Union, dear friends. But there is no country already part of our Union trying to exit. And why is that?
Because Europe is a “beacon of hope”. Yes, we have made mistakes; yes there were faults that we had to correct, yes we have to fight bureaucracy. Yes, we have to become more efficient on a number of fields, including, financial markets, foreign policy, defense and energy. But overall, we symbolize democracy and prosperity; we symbolize stability and moderation; we symbolize pride for the Europeans and we inspire Hope to everybody else.
This is the legacy of our Union.
And this why, the EPP will win the coming elections. Because this party, the EPP is the leading force to reform, to unite and to win.
Reform Europe. Unite the Europeans. And win the future.
Thank you very much.