Letta: EU leaders must leave ‘business as usual’ at home before going to Bratislava

In Bratislava this week, EU heads of state and government should show clear resolve that they are departing from business as usual, and President of the Commission Jean Claude Juncker should raise the bar, said Enrico Letta in a Citizens’ web dialogue, organised by the Jacques Delors Institute in partnership with euractiv.com.

“It is the first time that EU leaders will meet after having lost one of them. The EU has always been an enlarging successful process. For the first time we are declining in numbers,” said Letta stressing the fact that the summit will only count 27 heads of state and government minus the UK.

Responding to EU citizens’ questions, Letta, who leads the Paris-based think tank, noted that the EU is entering a new phase of its own construction.

In a dire straits period like the one the EU is facing at the moment, being threatened by terrorism, migration crisis, Brexit, President Juncker should tell member states to “leave the business as usual at home, because we need extraordinary tools.”

“The lack of toolbox to fight the many crisis is the problem of the EU at the moment,” he insisted. “It is not just about the creativity of the Commission to devise these tools it is also the political will of member states.”

“If member states continue to say that migrants, justice and home affairs, border controls is my task as nations and please back off from my dossiers we will not be able to carve proper solutions. The answers to these issues can only be European answers,” he said, rebutting calls for more and better Europe.

Underlining that we are not in presence of an ideological fight, he said we needed a more effective Europe

He likened the need for a unified border and coast guard to protect Europe’s external borders with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)adopted to safeguard financial stability in Europe.

“We know that we need European tools but the member states didn’t want to give to the EU institutions this kind of power,” he said slamming short-termism of the EU modus operandi in recent years.

The lessons of the economic crisis can be found in the timing of the decisions, the former Italian prime minister said. “We took at the end of the day some of the right decisions. We created the ESM […] but we did it four years too late,” Letta insisted, lamenting the problems caused by the lack of prompt action. “I fear we are doing the same with the terrorism.”

Reacting on last week’s EUMed summit in Athens, Letta said current fragmentation of the EU can be properly fought if EU institutions are strong.

Tsipras: Euro-Med summit will unite Europe, not divide it

EXCLUSIVE / The meeting of leaders from Southern European countries taking place in Athens today (9 September) will put Mediterranean issues on the EU agenda, without attempting to create divisions, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told EURACTIV.com in an interview.

During the Citizens’ web dialogue, Letta focuses on terrorism, institutional changes, security and Bexit among other timely issues for the EU.

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