“Europe is the best idea we have ever had,” starts a joint call signed by 21 presidents, including Slovak head of state Andrej Kiska, issued prior to the upcoming EP elections.
In their opinion, European integration has helped to realise the centuries-old hope for peace in Europe after unbridled nationalism and other extreme ideologies led Europe to the barbarity of two world wars.
“To this day, we cannot and should not take peace and freedom, prosperity and well-being for granted,” the call continues. “The 2019 elections are of special importance: It is you, the European citizens, who decide which path the European Union shall follow.”
The presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland called on people eligible to vote to take part in the upcoming elections.
“The peoples of Europe have united of their own free will in the European Union, which is founded on the principles of liberty, equality, solidarity, democracy, justice and loyalty within and between its members,” they stressed in the call.
“We are all Europeans”
For many people in Europe, particularly among the young generation, their European citizenship has become second nature to them, the call continues.
“It is not a contradiction for them to love their village, town, region or nation and to be committed Europeans,” according to the call.
They also stressed that in recent months the EU has been facing profound challenges. This includes not only talks about rolling back one or more integration steps, such as freedom of movement or abolishing joint institutions, but also the declared intention of the UK to leave the club. At the same time, others are calling for more integration in the EU or the eurozone or for a multi-speed Europe.
Even though views on these matters differ, one thing remains the same: European integration and unity is essential and they want to continue Europe as a Union, the presidents stressed.
“Only a strong community will be able to face up to the global challenges of our time,” the call reads. “The effects of climate change, terrorism, economic globalisation, and migration do not stop at national borders. We will only meet these challenges successfully and continue on the road to economic and social cohesion and development by working together as equal partners at the institutional level.”
This is why we need a strong EU, and the union with joint institutions that constantly reviews its work with a critical eye and, is able to reform itself. It is also important that it is built on its citizens and on its member states as a vital base.
Who has signed the call?
- Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria
- Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic
- Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia
- Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
- Prokopios Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic
- Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic
- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia
- Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic
- Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus
- Raimonds Vējonis, President of the Republic Latvia
- Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania
- János Áder, President of the Republic of Hungary
- George Vella, President of the Republic of Malta
- Alexander Van der Bellen, President of the Republic of Austria
- Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland
- Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of the Portuguese Republic
- Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania
- Borut Pahor, President of the Republic Slovenia
- Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic
- Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland
9. May 2019 at 13:53 | Compiled by Spectator staff