In Lisbon, Parliament President Roberta Metsola spoke of the importance of Europe rising to meet today’s global challenges. “The world needs Europe at its best. We need that hope.”
“Europe is a choice – a choice countries made because they understood that our best chance is if we are together. We chose Europe.” This was the message of the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola as she addressed the Estoril Conferences 2022 in Lisbon.
Speaking a few days before the State of the Union, President Metsola emphasised that decisions must be taken, and quickly. “Europe has the power to transform, but we have to find the political bravery to take that leap forward and to change the world. We can and we should. Because if we do not write the future, it will be written by those with a very different narrative and have a very different ending.”
On the illegal invasion of sovereign Ukraine, she said: “I am proud of Europe’s response. We have stood with Ukraine, we have given military aid, political and diplomatic support, we have welcomed millions fleeing, we have provided funding on an unprecedented scale. The most significant political move was to grant Ukraine EU candidate status, because Ukraine needs hope. Ukraine is fighting for Europe and we will not turn away.”
Regarding actions to address inflation, she said: “People are worried about their bills, about getting to the end of the month, about the world they’ll leave for their children. Europe must rise to meet that challenge. Whether it is tackling cost of living, electricity prices, climate change, defence, food security. The only way forward is if we are united. There are decisions that we can take now to limit the impact: capping of bills, fixing our pricing systems, or de-coupling the price of electricity from gas – to offset the immediate pressure while we implement long-term strategies. If ever there was a moment for ‘more Europe’, it is here and it is now.”
“Europe will only survive if we fight for it. If we stop taking it for granted. If we understand and explain its benefits. If we push back against those determined to undermine it. If we are able to reform and to reinvent our project”, she underlined.
Following the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the next step should be a Convention. ”It is about ensuring that we continue the conversation to leave Europe fit for the next generation. We cannot risk falling behind because our bureaucracy is too cumbersome to challenge, or allow narrow interests to take precedence. The last major reform took place a generation ago. We know that what once worked for EU15 is at its limits for EU27, and will not be able to work for EU32 or EU36. It is time.”
Despite the many changes and hard truths the world is facing, Metsola concluded, “I am optimistic. I am convinced that because of Europe the world ahead will be better than the one we leave behind. I am full of hope. Hope in the future, hope in the next generation. I am confident in the possibilities of our time and when I look at young people across Europe I know the future is bright”.
President Metsola’s speech in full is available here.