President Donald Tusk’s introductory words at the EPP Summit
I wish to thank you all for your readiness to take part in our discussion, despite the postponement of the Special European Council. COVID – 19 really complicates our lives and makes it difficult for all of us to plan anything, and this is why your determination and the engagement of the whole EPP family and its leaders, is all the more valuable.
I know that the Special European Council will concentrate on the fully functioning Single Market, a more ambitious industrial policy, on digital transition, as well as on external relations, mainly on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and our relations with Turkey. It’s good that we can hear the opinions of Nicos and Kyriakos. It will also be good to listen to the comments of Angela and Ursula regarding the situation on the Chinese “front”. You both had the opportunity to talk with President Xi last week, and we are all interested in your assessment. I hope that you will also find the time, during the Special European Council meeting, to discuss the situation in Belarus. It would be good to find in our group a solution to the dilemma we face, that is how to reconcile the need for solidarity with Belarus with the need for solidarity with Cyprus. I know it is very difficult, but we cannot leave either of them alone. It is not enough to put pressure on Nicos, we must help him. On the other hand, the Belarusian nation and its dreams about freedom and democracy, cannot be held hostage in a completely different case. At stake here are, as have been a few times already in the recent past, the credibility and reputation of the whole European Union. It is also clear that Cyprus and Greece must have full support on our part vis-à vis Turkey. When it comes to Belarus, I am in constant contact with the leaders of the Belarusian opposition. And I know that they are responsible, moderate and ready to continue their fight, in spite of the rising wave of repressions.
We cannot forget about migration, either. While looking for the solutions which will help the countries in the South, we must also remember that the conflict over relocation will certainly be used, as it was before, by the populists and xenophobes, also in our political camp. I would like to take this opportunity and thank the Commission, and you personally Ursula, for the creativity and political wisdom in searching for effective and politically safe (at least I hope so) proposals. Let me also offer my compliments to our Parliamentarians for their principled position on the rule of law in the context of the recovery fund. This is something difficult for all of us, but the EPP cannot give up on this matter, which is so crucial for the future of the Union and for the future of democracy.