Members of the EPP Political Assembly met for two days in Brussels and had the honour to welcome newly elected President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. Gathering for the first time this year, the delegates outlined the party’s priorities for 2017, focusing on a secure future for Europe’s citizens. They also discussed the political situations in Romania and Albania.
“The European Union needs to make significant progress in the field of security. We need to create a genuine defence union to ensure the safety of European citizens. With an ever more interconnected European security, EU Member States must take full responsibility and commit to a common defence. It is time to be more ambitious and to further cooperate among ourselves in order guarantee the security of Europe and its neighbourhood”, said Joseph Daul, President of the European People’s Party.
The Political Assembly featured a debate on defence with Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation, and Heinrich Brauss, Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning at NATO.
A secure future for the European people also implies financial stability. The EPP Political Assembly adopted two resolutions addressing Europe’s economic competitiveness and innovation in a globalised world, and its ability to spread the benefits of globalisation to all its citizens:
“While globalisation and rules-based free trade have brought prosperity and increased living standards, their benefits have not always been shared equally. Investing in people’s skills and training to enable them to adapt to technological innovation, to facilitate labour mobility and to guarantee fair competition in open markets are keys to ensuring that all people benefit from globalisation and rules-based free trade,” underlined the EPP President, referring to the EPP resolution ‘Global Europe — supportive, respectful and fair’.
”Digital innovation and technology are reshaping our society, industry and economy. The EU must put in place the right laws to ensure the Internet remains available to all, whether in rural or urban areas. We must modernise digital infrastructures and networks and offer an equal access to online services. This will ensure that more jobs and growth are created in Europe, and that Europe remains a competitive player in the world,” added the EPP President, following the adoption of the EPP resolution ‘Digital Europe 2.0 — Paving the Digital Road with Gigabits’.
The Political Assembly also discussed the political situation in Romania and the attempts of the current government to weaken the judiciary and to pardon or grant amnesty to many convicted persons, including politicians involved in corruption cases:
“We are closely following developments in Romania. EPP representatives in all institutions of the Union remain alert in defending the progress achieved by the Romanian people in recent years regarding the functioning of the judiciary. The European Commission should observe the respect for the rule of law, a strong and independent judicial system, as well as for the continuation of the fight against corruption. We will stand on the side of the Romanian people whenever needed,” said EPP President Joseph Daul.
The EPP delegates also adopted a resolution on Albania, which urges the government to carry on with reforms:
“The upcoming Albanian elections must be free, fair and in line with European standards. Reform of the judiciary, in particular the decriminalization law, must remain a priority for the current government. Key and bold reforms, and inclusive political dialogue, are critical for the Albanian people and for the advancement of the country as a whole towards the EU,” stated Joseph Daul.
EPP delegates observed a minute of silence as a tribute to the late Peter Hintze, who served as EPP Vice-President from 2002 until 2015, and to the victims of recent terrorist attacks in Berlin, Istanbul and Jerusalem.