Muscat, Macron, and liberals in joint op-ed warning of return to 1930s Europe

Joint op-ed suggests pan-European alliance for 2019 is in the offing between progressives, socialists and liberals

In a joint op-ed published this morning, Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat, ALDE chief Guy Verhofstadt and Christophe Castaner, the leader of Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche movement, have extended an open invitation to politicians to heed their call to fight resurgent nationalism ahead of the European election next year.

The op-ed has appeared in the Times, Guardian, El País and Libération and is also co-authored by former Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Spain’s Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera, former Romanian PM Dacian Cioloș, Belgium’s MR politician Olivier Chastel and Dutch Democrats 66 leader Alexander Pechtold.

In it they warn that if the European project isn’t strengthened, we could see a return to a 1930s world.

More importantly, it is the first indication of a pan-European movement for 2019 that could see socialists, liberals and progressives enter the slipstream of Emmanuel Macron’s slipstream of electoral success to create an alliance against illiberal and sovreigntist European states.

“We are determined to overcome existing partisan structures if they act as obstacles We have committed ourselves to rejuvenating Europe by bringing together citizens from all four corners of our Union. People are passionate about the EU and determined to invest in this historical project…

“Eight months is all we have left to reawaken Europe. So we must come together to act now.”

The leaders say they want to “rebuild the EU to finally meet the expectations of our peoples, and to reconnect with the European promise.”

“Instead of Salvini’s threats of ‘mass cleansing’ or ‘doing away with Europe’, we proudly proclaim we still believe in the Union’s founding values of peace, freedom, prosperity and solidarity. And we will fight both to protect and retain them. Instead of appeals to muzzle justice and opposition, we will defend the committed adherence to the rule of law and democratic institutions.”

“A century later,” the politicians write of the effects of World War I in Europe, “as our continent once again faces division and resistance to change, we refuse to be a complacent generation. We must act now, or else face the risk that the European project will perish. Worse still, it could be suffocated by populist leaders for whom our Union is nothing but an anomaly of history up for destruction.”

It is also clear that Joseph Muscat could back the demands of bigger players in the field of digital taxation: “We are just the beginning of the process – but we know the only possible solution is a European one,” a hint at a harmonised tax.


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