Day of Europe
Where is the heart
of the European democracy?
The last decade was difficult for European integration. The economic crisis brought a wave of right-wing and left-wing Euroscepticism that swept through virtually all EU countries. The peak of this trend was the decision of the British people to leave the community, which was made in the referendum in the summer of 2016.
During last two years pessimism, however, began to give way to optimism. In France, the presidential election was won by Emmanuel Macron, running a campaign based on a strong pro-European message. The good economic situation has returned to most EU countries. Ideas for a revival of the European idea as well as a debate about community’s reform and its future shape are coming back.
At the beginning of the discussion on the future financial perspective, Europe faces many challenges, and various capitals, institutions or groups give different recipes to overcome them. Is a Europe of many speeds the future of the Union, or should we move forward primarily together? Should cohesion remain a priority or should it be promotion of new technologies and economic growth? How to restore EU solidarity in face of the refugee crisis? These are just a few questions that we should answer during the next 12 months.
There have been differences between Western countries and Central and Eastern Europe on many of these challenges. The countries of the region have criticized the solutions proposed by Brussels for solving migration problems. Differences also concern the shape of the EU internal market (posted workers), monetary integration (many Central and Eastern European countries remain outside the euro area) or climate policy.
At the same time, in at least two countries of the community, Poland and Hungary, there are processes that are seen as a threat to European values and liberal democracy as such. The European Commission has decided to submit an application for examination under Art. 7 of the EU Treaty, if Warsaw complies with the principles of rule of law required in the community. The Council of the European Union is dealing with this matter.
What role should the European Parliament play in this situation? It is the only body in which there can be a continuous debate of many interested parties about the challenges facing Europe and the values on which our continent is based. What is more, this debate is of a civic nature, because MEPs are above all representatives of the citizens. Brussels and Strasbourg are places where various ideas can be discussed every week and, as a result, where we can achieve a compromise.
The discussion in Warsaw is to help us answer some basic questions.
- How has the role of the European Parliament changed during the last turbulent decade?
- How can it respond to the challenges mentioned above?
- How can it respond to problems faced by ordinary citizens of the community?
- What is its role in protecting civil rights and EU values?
- In terms of the rule of law, did Warsaw make sufficient concessions to reach a compromise with the EU institutions?
We invite you into a debate.