Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the panel discussion called “European (Dis)Union?” during the Globsec forum in Bratislava

On 28 May 2017, European Council President Donald Tusk participated in a panel debate called “European (Dis)Union?”  during the Globsec forum in Bratislava with Robert Fico, the Prime Minister of Slovakia, and Bohuslav Sobotka, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic.

Below you can find some of President Tusk’s main quotes from the debate. At the bottom is also a link to the full recording of the debate.

On the G7 Summit and transatlantic relations

“I think that our meeting in Taormina as G7 is the best evidence that rumours about the decline of the west is a clear exaggeration. “

“I feel more optimistic now after the G7 meeting than I had personally  expected, and this optimism includes relations with our new partners around the table and I mean especially with President Trump.”

“My impression after this meeting is that cooperation among G7 members, including the transatlantic cooperation between Europe and the United States, can be easier than what we expected immediately after the elections in the United States.”

On multi-speed Europe

“There is nothing new and nothing extravagant in talking about specific and different political or legal formats in the EU. First of all, the possibility of enhanced cooperation among a group of member states is foreseen by the treaties and the most spectacular examples of this enhanced cooperation could be the Eurozone or Schengen. It is quite natural for such a very complex political system like the EU to have differences and different levels of integration.  We also have different political clubs like the Visegrad group, the Weimar triangle, the Benelux or the Nordic countries.  My previous experience as PM is that they were and are very useful in the process when we are looking for a compromise.”

“In fact, the real threat to the European Union today is not the different speeds, being two or multi-speeds, or the different levels of integration – this is already our political reality,  it was always our reality and it will remains our reality in the EU. The real threat is the different destinations or different directions. For me the biggest problem in Europe is that we today have some political parties, some governments, politicians, media etc. who are questioning the essence of the EU, the essence of Europe. By essence, I mean the values of liberal democracy, freedom, tolerance, freedom of speech.”

On the migration crisis and terrorism

“Europe is still the most open continent or the most open place in the world for refugees and migrants. We have thousands and thousands of people, organisations, and institutions deeply engaged in humanitarian assistance. Europe, of course, is not perfect but is still the best example in the world when it comes to the readiness to sacrifice something, not only money but also our time and emotions.”

“When it comes to the Muslim minority, I see a very visible risk that some political elites and political groups are ready to claim that in fact Islam is the synonym of terrorism. We can’t agree with this kind of simplification.”

“On the other hand, we should understand also the emotions especially after such an event like Manchester or other attacks in Europe. My advice or rather suggestion is that we have to start a genuine discussion with the Muslim minorities representatives on how we can cooperate together to exclude Islamic radicals from our societies. I think it is not enough today to show Muslim solidarity after the attacks. Without a deep engagement from the Muslim communities in our countries, we have no chance to eliminate this radical part of the Islam world.”

On leaks from meetings

“As you know, I am not here to be part of this new culture of permanent leaks. From time to time we also need some discretion and personal encounters.”

Link to full video of the debate