We need to work for the Europe of solidarity, a Europe of its peoples

Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, during the joint statements with the President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.

I believe that today we had a lively and constructive debate. I think everyone understands that Europe is at a crucial crossroads and the debate about its future was rather interesting. And it was interesting because Greece is a “case study” for Europe, since after eight consecutive years of failed reforms and failed programs; we, finally, managed to find the right path.

We managed to achieve a clean exit from the memoranda, by deepening the necessary reforms for the Greek economy, while at the same time we managed to protect the most vulnerable citizens.

Therefore, the discussion has indeed been interesting. And I think that while Europe faces multiple challenges, the dialogue between us is essential. The challenges are related to the management of the adverse consequences of the economic crisis within our societies, such as the widening of inequalities and poverty, but also among member states, such as the unprecedented social, economic divergence.

These challenges, also, are related to the management of the refugee and migration crisis, which not only divides Europe, but more than that threatens its cohesion, as several Member States resort to national solutions.

So, I believe that the exchange of views was very beneficial today, but it was also useful to make it clear that Europe needs to turn a page.

The President mentioned earlier that it is necessary to change Europe without “killing” it. This was something that when I mentioned it when I was here three years ago, some people felt threatened by me because they thought my will to change Europe was dangerous.

But the truth is that the real threat to Europe is the forces that want to kill Europe and not those who want to change it. I therefore believe that our political duty is to replace the current Europe of fear with the Europe of hope and to forge a new social contract that will reconnect Europe with its fundamental principles and values, democratize the Eurozone and ensure a decent living for the its citizens. We must make the European project, a project for our peoples and, at the same time, effectively address refugee and migratory flows. This is a very important challenge and I fully agree with you that it is necessary to move together to reform the Dublin regulation. I believe that beyond the difficulties, we have already achieved to save our common European home, the European Union, from the economic crisis, and, beyond the enormous difficulties ahead, I believe it is possible, but also necessary, to work for a Europe that will be the Europe of its peoples. For a Europe that will re-emphasize the fundamental values ​​and principles of solidarity, social cohesion, democracy and cooperation. With these thoughts, I believe that today’s debate was interesting and constructive, and I would like to thank the President once again for giving me this opportunity.