Francesc Gambús, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats)
“Let us concentrate on the demonstration that we have given -and are going to give today and tomorrow- of the existence of a political will to build a united Europe which shall be more effective, more democratic, and more confident in itself”. Altiero Spinelli, a founding father of the Union, pronounced those words more than 30 years ago.
Europeans have learned to build a common project, we have learned to do it together and we have learned that if we succeed it will be good for European citizens and for the rest of the world as well.
It seems today that the European project needs the confidence that Spinelli requested the same demonstration that its existence is essential to the world, specially by continuing to build a project for today and for tomorrow. This cannot be achieved without our values: solidarity, peace and freedom.
We must put aside populism, protectionism and isolation that some may demand and be able to reach a leading European Union which, in fact, is what the world is currently in need.
We cannot, nor should, renounce this global leadership to make a counterweight to the leadership of the US, Russia or China. The EU sees the world as it is understood in itself. In the same way, Europe wants for the world what it wants for itself, because we know what means to be out of the Union in the international trade system.
A good example of this ability to influence, to exercise leadership and international cooperation is the CETA, the Global Economic & Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada. Being able to negotiate has led to an ambitious agreement which goes far beyond from eliminating tariffs, by opening the Canadian market to European companies and creating employment.
We share much more than a business relationship with Canadians: we share a treaty full of rights and values, with a spirit of cooperation and innovative solidarity. In fact, this treaty goes beyond trade; because treaties today can be an important tool for change, for prescription and transformation. This is where the importance of relations with Canada lies and which highlights the leverage of the EU in the world and a new generation of international treaties.
This year 2017 we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Rome, which led to the creation of the European Economic Community. Therefore, we should remember those same values that united countries; a territory, above all, that wanted peace, unity and becoming a leader in the world.
Therefore, the EU is now a vital actor to face the global challenges that we must fight together. Today, the world needs more than ever a European Union that can lead it. Do we have confidence in ourselves?