Antonio Tajani: Europe must be changed, not killed

‘It’s the only way member states can compete on a global level with the likes of Russia and the United States’ – EP president Antonio Tajani

Europe must band together rather than disintegrate in order to compete globally, according to Antonio Tajani
Europe must band together rather than disintegrate in order to compete globally, according to Antonio Tajani

The European Union must find ways of shifting away from its current status quo and seek “greater cooperation between the people and European institutions, the newly elected president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani said.

Tajani was speaking at an informal meeting with members of civil society this evening which included representatives from a number of local unions and eNGOs.

He said that despite the need for change, the people should not “kill Europe” because it would be impossible for any member state to compete with global powers like Russia and the United States.

“Our only solution is to work together more closely,” he said, echoing the sentiment expressed by council president Donald Tusk in a letter to European leaders.

“Over the next two years, the European Parliament will work for better cooperation between the people and the institutions. Unfortunately, many people have become detached from the European Union,” Tajani said.

He pointed to issues such as migration, terrorism and climate change, as problems that are in need of solutions, adding that “unfortunately, in Europe there are many speaking but not many solutions for citizens.”

Tajani stressed the importance of focusing on cutting down on bureaucracy, reducing public debt and taking decisions that favour economic growth in order to restore people’s faith in the union.

“We need to strengthen the real economy. It is impossible to reduce youth unemployment without strengthening the economy,” he said, emphasising the importance of providing support for small and medium enterprises and strengthening tourism, among other sectors.

Turning to migration, Tajani said that it was crucial to have better sharing of responsibilities from the whole of Europe, and explained that while it is necessary to intervene and stop irregular migration, it is also important to make sure that Mediterranean countries do not suffer disproportionately.

 “The desertification of Libya as well as other regions of Africa will continue to create migrants,” he said, underscoring the need for decisive action on climate change and its relationship to migration.

Replying to a question on tackling poverty across Europe, Tajani stressed that economic growth should be the driving force. “The solution is to work in favour of growth of the economy. Of course, we need to help people living in poverty and to dedicate more funds to this, but we must ultimately work in favour of growth.”

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