EPP Lauds Robert Schuman's Heritage on Europe Day
The European People's Party Group, the largest and most influential political group in the European Parliament, has celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the Robert Schuman Declaration which formed the basis for the creation of the European Union.
At the event, four of the most prominent figures of the EPP political family, Joseph Daul MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group, Hans Gert Poettering MEP, former President of the European Parliament and former Chairman of the EPP Group, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and Jos? Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, shared their views on Europe's achievements, current challenges and future possibilities before a huge audience in the Alcide de Gasperi Room, where the EPP Group holds its regular meetings.
"The EPP Group's foundations lay in solidarity, responsibility, truth, enthusiasm and faith in Europe. This commemorative day on 9 May is of particular importance during this delicate period in EU history - in economic terms, but especially in political terms. The boldness of the founding fathers of Europe from our political family is something which we could do well to imitate today. Thanks to their dreams, we finally know the value of tolerance, dialogue and solidarity, which take precedence over individualism", said Joseph Daul.
"The European Union is the greatest project of peace ever, not only in Europe but in the entire world. Today, people too often do not realise what an immense achievement Europe is. On a continent marked by wars and enmity, a Union of common values and principles has been founded where more than 500 million citizens from 27 Member States live together, united in diversity. We should take particular pride in the fact that the founding fathers of the EU were first and foremost Christian Democrats. But this magnificent project cannot be taken for granted. It is only through hard work and courageous decisions that we can continue to build on the foundations that were laid down by Robert Schuman and like-minded leaders in Europe", said Hans-Gert Poettering.
"We are at a crossroads in the history of the European Union and we must take stock of the values we have in common to know how we should continue to work together. Let us look at the value of solidarity and Schuman's words: Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. His great idea has proven to work: we now have true interdependence between our societies. In the light of the sovereign debt crisis, we have been forced to recognise that this solidarity goes further than we expected. This has brought about a 'two-way solidarity', because the chain is no stronger than its weakest link. What this really means is that we cannot allow for persistent differences at the core of the economic and monetary union", said Herman Van Rompuy.
"We must never forget that Europe is first and foremost a political project, even if it has been developed on the basis of economic co-operation. But the market does not play the central role. Our common values do: peace, respect for human dignity, freedom, justice and solidarity. Those values, and the very existence of the EU, are put to the test today. Europe's crisis, our excessive spending and debt are, in fact, the results of a crisis of values. Unfortunately, we have developed societies where too little consideration is given to, for example, the ethics of work and too much attention is given to consuming and gaining profit, no matter at what cost. Therefore, our problems are much deeper than what meets the eye. We must put our values back at the forefront and convince people that this is the only way out of the crisis", said Jos? Manuel Barroso.
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