Europe Day: Leaders comment on challenges

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Brussels: On 9 May 'Europe Day' is being celebrated all around Europe. It is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe following the historic 'Schuman Declaration' by French foreign minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950.

Commenting on the celebration of Europe Day, Socialist & Democratic Group President Hannes Swoboda said, "Europe needs a new direction. The original vision of a united Europe to promote peace between the nations still stands. But today the true challenge is about promoting fairness and justice in society. Recent votes such as the Greek elections have shown that citizens feel there is a lack of social justice and see their place in society endangered. We need to give them back hope and trust, and find an alternative way out of the crisis."

He continued by stressing the alternative path that Socialists and Democrats stand for in Europe today:
"The recent elections in France have shown that the Left is back in Europe. Our Socialist and Democratic friends and sister parties are more and more united all over Europe and together we will fight for an alternative way out of the crisis. In Europe today we speak less German and more French and in particular more and more the language of Social Democrats based on fairness and social justice. As result of the harsh austerity policies, we see an ever greater divergence in wages between the rich and the poor. We cannot allow this trend to continue. Today the fight for fairness is our true challenge. If we cannot guarantee this, we will threaten the very idea that Europe stands for. Solidarity with the people and our member countries is the key goal we have to fight for. The fight against the alarmingly high rates of youth unemployment all over Europe is at the heart of our action to give people hope and trust in the future." 

Swoboda concluded by stressing the inclusive role that Europe plays today:
"The socially just Europe we stand for needs to include all people who live here, whether they are European citizens or immigrants. European integration does not only mean integration of nation states but it includes the integration of those citizens who have been raised in the EU and who should have a right to participate in daily life and the political process. Unlike Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, we stand for an open and inclusive Europe, in which everybody living here can feel at home." 
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