Europeans in constant struggle for decent quality of life – President Coleiro Preca

Addressing the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca urges politicians to take action against increased poverty and unemployment

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca greets EP President Martin Schulz at San Anton Palace
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca greets EP President Martin Schulz at San Anton Palace

President of the Republic Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has used her address to the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament to highlight the plight of European citizens who struggle every day to reach basic standard of living and quality of life.

The Conference of Presidents is meeting in Malta as the island prepares to take over the Presidency of the European Council for the first time ever since joining the European Union in 2004.

“We definitely need a Europe for the people, a Europe with the people, a Europe closer to our peoples,” the Maltese President told politicians during a courtesy visit to San Anton Palace.

“While the European Union holds the historical place of being a primary promoter of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Malta will be taking up the Presidency of the European Council, during very taxing times, when our European project is being challenged,” she said.

“We are at a time when the European Union needs to invigorate and energise the spirit of the European project, which our forefathers have so aptly envisioned for a stable, peaceful, and prosperous continent, which acknowledges and respects diversity, for the wellbeing of all our peoples.”

Coleiro Preca said this was the time during which the EU needed to recuperate and strengthen the social values which have always distinguished Europe from other regions in the world.

Migration and social inclusion are among the priority areas which the Maltese Presidency will be focusing upon.

“Migration, social inclusion, the single market, the European Union’s neighbourhood policy, the maritime sector and security, are all interlinked areas of concern that impinge on the aspirations of our peoples. Europeans expect us to work together in synergy and in solidarity so as to ensure their prosperity and wellbeing,” the President said.

Coleiro Preca went on to outline poverty and unemployment as key issues faced by the EU.

She argued that the constant sight of families and individuals, who lack the very basic needs to live in dignity, jarred against the great consumer outlets, with all the facilities of modern technology, which, in themselves are testimony to the great innovative thinking emerging from Europe and beyond.

“I am afraid that this fact alone illustrates that not all is well in our European Union.”

Coleiro Preca noted that the EU was currently facing high unemployment levels: even adults who have invested in education find themselves in a position where they cannot reach their parents’ standard of living and quality of life.

She urged politicians not turn jobs crisis into a skills crisis, blaming people for lack of skills or using migrants as scapegoats.

“We cannot be complacent – we need to walk the talk – we need to regain our strength through an effective social Europe,” the President said.

Malta, she added, will use its Presidency to push member states to tackle these serious social challenges: “Europeans must regain confidence in our European project and to trust you, as politicians.”

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