European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said that “the future of Europe is tied to the future of Ukraine,” in a speech at the closing ceremony of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
During her speech, Metsola spoke about the gap that exists between people’s expectations of what the European Union should deliver and what it is actually able to at the moment, particularly in the areas of health, energy and security.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a citizen-led series of debates and discussions that enables people from across Europe to share their ideas and help shape Europe’s future.
“Europe’s future is yet unwritten and our story depends on you, on all of us,” Metsola said.
Metsola, who has been highly outspoken against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war crimes since the beginning of the illegal invasion of Ukraine, also took the opportunity to emphasise Europe’s role in the war.
“The post-February 24th world is a very different one. A more dangerous one. Europe’s role has changed with it,” said Metsola.
“How we have responded to the invasion and how we must continue to respond is the litmus test of our values. The unity and resolve in our response has confounded critics and made us proud to be European. That must be the blueprint going forward,” she said.
Metsola reminded everyone that as they speak, Ukraine is still under attack, “that bombs are still killing indiscriminately and women are still being raped”.
She spoke about the millions who were forced to flee their homes to reach safety in Europe and ended up internally displaced in Ukraine.
“Ukrainians look to Europe for support, because they know what millions of Europeans who were forced to spend half a century behind the yoke of the iron curtain will tell you: there is no alternative to Europe,” Metsola said.
“The future of Europe is tied to the future of Ukraine. The threat we face is real and the cost of failure is momentous,” Metsola warned.
“How will history judge our actions? The cementing of an inter-dependent relationship between nations and people who are proud of their differences, but who understand that in this new world, the future can only be together?” Metsola asked.
Metsola said that the way in which history remembers Europe “is all up to us. That is our responsibility” and that the parliament “will fight for a stronger Europe and all of what Europe means. That means freedom, democracy, the rule of law, justice, solidarity and equality of opportunity”.
The Parliament must start listening to its citizens more than they speak, she said. “This exercise must be about you. About our project working for people in villages and towns and regions across Europe”.
Metsola spoke about the gap between people’s expectations of the EU and what it is actually able to deliver, saying that “there are issues that simply cannot wait”.
The EU is also in need of a new defence and security policy and “we must support each other as we disentangle ourselves from the Kremlin and invest in alternative energy sources” Metsola said.
In her speech, Metsola also addressed the need to tackle climate change, healthcare systems reforms and that “when the next virus hits us, we cannot let it shut down our lives”.
She also spoke about how there need to be reforms to better protect migrants in need of protection and that is firm with those who are not, as well as ensuring that the values of equality and solidarity are not violated, regardless of birthplace, gender or sexual orientation.
“In all these areas and more, I want Europe to lead,” Metsola said.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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