The theme of our Congress, “Securing Europe’s Future”, is extremely pertinent to our ongoing discussions for the future of our common family.
Last Saturday we commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome and we recalled the historic journey and the ways and means, through which our Union evolved to a thriving and strong partnership.
First, we must strengthen our democratic structures and the rule of law, invest in open and pluralistic, cohesive societies and on enhancing democratic security for our citizens; through opposing any form of extremism and not permitting the prevalence of fear and intolerance.
Our political family has been at the heart of the idea of European integration process, both as regards to promoting the above-mentioned shared values and as an answer to international coordination problems that hampered economic and social prosperity.
Today, as the European Union is facing a series of challenges that test our institutions and policies to the limit, the need for collective unity and coordinated actions by our political family becomes ever more relevant.
Second, the Union should come closer to its citizens through lessening its complicated and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures, strengthening political accountability and transparency on decision-making and adopting better-targeted policies, which will provide to its citizens new opportunities for cultural and social development and economic growth.
Third, unity is and should remain the cornerstone of our Union.
In the Rome Declaration, which was adopted just a few days ago, we committed ourselves to “make the European Union stronger and more resilient, through even greater unity” and we pledged ourselves to collectively work together for a Europe, which will be:
– Safe and secure;
– Prosperous and sustainable;
– Promoting economic and social progress, as well as cohesion and convergence;
– Stronger on the global scene via further developing existing partnerships, building new ones and promoting stability and prosperity in its immediate neighbourhood to the east and south.
Fourth, solidarity of the European Union is a fundamental guiding principle and an issue of European credibility. In practice, member states, which are either in need of political support due to internal or external threats or face economic and social challenges, need to be actively and with practical ways supported, in order for the concept of solidarity to be considered as a truly borderless European notion.
When it comes to Unity and Solidarity, I feel obliged to express great thanks to EPP for its strong support to our efforts to reach a viable and comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, which is also a European problem, is interconnected with our aim of creating a stronger Europe. The resolution adopted yesterday is the most credible evidence of this support and solidarity.
A viable and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem would be to the best interests not only of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but also of Europe and its future, and would end the oxymoron of having one of its member states being forcibly divided with the presence of foreign troops on its soil, and will, at the same time, enhance Cyprus’ role as security provider in the south-eastern Mediterranean region.
For the above-mentioned of course, what is required is that the settlement to be reached should be in full conformity and without any deviations from our European values, principles and the acquis.
Further, Cyprus needs to maintain both an independent foreign policy and its effective-participation on decision-making within the Union, with the aim not to negatively affect the positive role we have assumed in the overall security architecture of the EU.
Therefore, in times of increasing internal and external challenges for Europe, I do call on your substantial unity and solidarity so as to turn Cyprus into one of EU’s success story, conveying the message both to our immediate neighborhood and internationally as to the dynamic potential of our collective strength and what this historic and unique Union of countries represents: “United in diversity”.
In concluding, I want to thank Simon, and warmly congratulate for summoning and organising the EPP Congress so successfully and the timely theme it has been addressing.
I have no doubt that drawing inspiration from our common European history we will rise at any occasion and respond to the current challenges, transforming our Union to a more effective and cohesive entity.
Source: Press and Information Office