For the first time, the centre-right EPP and the Socialists no longer have a working majority on their own in the European Parliament. This new reality alone is a chance for change in Europe, writes Dacian Cioloș who will host a pre-EU summit meeting today of European centrist and liberal parties.
Dacian Cioloș is the president of Renew Europe, the third-largest political group in the European Parliament.
Today, I will have the pleasure of hosting a Renew Europe pre-summit meeting of our political family’s leaders, bringing together seven heads of state and government, and leaders representing nearly 90 political parties throughout Europe, occupying countless offices at a local, regional, national and European level.
For the first time, the EPP and the Socialists no longer have a working majority on their own. This new reality alone is a chance for change, both for Parliament and for Europe!
Without us, there might be a majority to reject progress but no majority to build and push Europe forward. We want to use this strength to break the status quo, to build a new Europe.
At this crossroads for our continent, let us acknowledge this: the history of Europe over the last 20 years has been one of prevarication, of compromises representing too often the lowest common denominator, of long debates on what is not possible.
Now it is time to define what is possible and go for it. It is the inaction and inability to respond to the concrete challenges facing Europe that fuels frustration among voters.
Renew Europe wants to use its strength to move forward, propose and guide the European project. Because we are convinced that the individual strength of each of our nations will depend on the collective relevance and power of our actions at the European level. Yes, the Union is strength.
Europe must enable us to protect our strategic and cultural independence, our freedoms and the diversity of our identities. The conflict in Syria is a constant reminder of the urgent need for greater autonomy in security and defence.
Europe must enable us to build the economy of tomorrow through innovation, deepening the single market and stimulating the emergence of European economic leaders with a global dimension.
Europe must work to rebuild our climate and create a new, virtuous relationship between economic growth and the preservation of natural resources.
Moreover, Europe will only move forward on one condition: that its elected representatives be more deeply rooted in their territories than ever before. Europe does not belong to an elite in an ivory tower, but to every European.
This is why the Conference on the Future of Europe is so important to us. This Conference must be a moment of re-foundation, giving Europeans a voice outside the framework of the European elections.
The road to a new pro-European dynamic may not always be smooth. But it is our responsibility to act together to ensure that each jolt makes us stronger and more united and that they help to structure our actions.
We, pro-European leaders, have a duty to propose a path of renewal for Europe. We have a responsibility to unite to weigh and build a collective European future, by seeking support from political families ready to engage in a constructive and genuinely pro-European dialogue.
The key question emerging within the European Parliament is how? Will we be in a position to build strong and trustworthy relations among pro – European groups, or on the contrary will we have to seek case by case majorities based on a larger political spectrum?
It is clear that Renew Europe’s preference is for a stable, responsible and pro-European majority, not only with the EPP and the Socialists but also with the Greens if they are willing.
Already in July, we pushed for a coalition agreement to be negotiated. This process fed, for the first time ever, the political guidelines of the President-elect of the Commission, which is as such a great democratic improvement for our Union.
A case by case majority, however, would pave the way for permanent uncertainties and would favour those reluctant to build. The confidence of Europeans cannot be built on the basis of narrow political deals without a common broad vision.
Those refusing to shape a strong Pro-European majority take the responsibility of backing away from the opportunity to build and create a new European dynamic.