Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen debated the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on Wednesday.
Lars Løkke Rasmussen praised the EU for bringing peace to the continent. He went on to say that, the EU must listen to what the people of Europe want the EU to be in the future.
The EU needs to do more
Mr. Rasmussen said the future of the EU depends on whether it is able to solve the greatest challenges of today and outlined four areas where he believed the EU should play a strong role in future:
Migration: “We could all do a better job of explaining to the citizens what the EU and the member states have already achieved. For instance, there has been a 95% drop in migrant arrivals since the crisis of 2015.”
Fight against climate change: “If we set ambitious goals for the green transition at European level, we will motivate our own industry to be frontrunners. To the benefit of all of us in Europe.”
The single market: “Expanding and modernising the Single Market is key. It must be digitally competitive. Data must flow freely.”
Free trade: “It is our duty to safeguard free trade – even under historic pressure.”
Learn from Brexit
“We must respect the choice of the British people, but we also need to learn from this choice. For forty years, Britons were told how European cooperation was holding them back. When in fact, Brexit has revealed how European cooperation was solving problems that the Brits now have to deal with on their own: securing open borders, frictionless trade, peace and security. In Britain, the government perhaps forgot to convey what we have achieved together.”
Denmark belongs in the EU
Prime Minister Rasmussen said that Denmark belongs in the EU and that Danes are not reluctant Europeans.
“The share of people supporting the EU is larger in Denmark than in most other European countries! And the share of Danes who believe their voice is heard at the European level ranks second among twenty-eight Member States”, he said.
He believes this is because Denmark has had an open debate about the EU in the last 30 years, which has given Danes a more pragmatic view of the EU. The EU is a good deal and the EU should continue to come up with down-to-earth solutions to present-day problems, he said.
Speakers’ interventions are available by clicking on the links below.
- President Antonio TAJANI, introduction
- Lars Løkke RASMUSSEN, Danish Prime Minister
- Valdis DOMBROVSKIS, Vice-President of the European Commission
- Manfred WEBER (EPP, DE)
- Jeppe KOFOD (S&D, DK)
- Anders Primdahl VISTISEN (ECR, DK)
- Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE)
- Philippe LAMBERTS (Greens/EFA, BE)
- Dennis de JONG (GUE/NGL, NL)
- Laura AGEA (EFDD, IT)
- Nicolas BAY (ENF, FR)
- Lars Løkke RASMUSSEN, Danish Prime Minister, response