Insight and reflection by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, for Corporate Dispatch.
Europe’s story is one of freedom and citizen rights, of 70 years of benefits that were simply unimaginable in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. This is a story of real and lasting peace, of an identity founded on the freedom and dignity of the individual, of democracies rooted in the rule of law, of the breaking down of walls and barriers to the movement of persons, goods and capital.
We created the largest market in the world, while at the same time pushing cohesion between Europe’s regions to make sure that no one is left behind. We built a social market economy in which the market is the means of creating jobs and opportunities for everyone.
The origins of this success story can be traced back to the courage and foresight of men and women who survived the horrors of war and experienced the disastrous consequences of nationalism. These men and women had no doubt that the European project was the only path to the rebirth of our continent.
Europe’s successes are due, above all, to the friendships and mutual trust developed between great leaders such as De Gasperi, Adenauer, and Monnet and, more recently, Kohl, Walesa and from Malta, Eddie Fenech Adami.
Today, Europe stands at a crossroads. We can either listen to the crying alarms urging us to close ourselves behind our own borders, or we can choose to continue along our European path.
That path is also the path of change. Europe’s leaders must learn to look beyond the next election.
Cooperation on the basis of solidarity and a shared vision for Europe: that is the only truly effective response to the concerns our citizens about security, immigration and unemployment.
If there is a lesson to be learnt from globalisation, it is that the process has radically altered our understanding of sovereignty.
Issues such as security and defence, managing migration flows, combating unemployment, tax justice, fair trade rules, protecting innovation and creativity, energy security or climate change can only be addressed at supranational level.
No European State acting alone can compete with giants such as the United States, China, Russia or India.
I want to bring Europe closer to its citizens once again. For this, as a guiding principle of my mandate, I am making sure that politics takes the front seat and that the European Parliament has a central role and its prerogatives respected.
In keeping with that pledge, I am working to ensure that Parliament plays a decisive role in the construction of a new Europe.