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Sandro Gozi: "It's time for the EU to change to survive" a future of "empires."

Bilbao seminar

The Secretary General of the European Democratic Party (EDP) and MEP, Sandro Gozi, said last Friday in Bilbao that "the time has come for the EU to change in order to survive" a future of "empires". 

Sandro Gozi took part in the seminar organised in the Biscayan capital to reflect on the future of Europe after the Covid crisis and the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. He also assessed the conclusions reached at the Conference for the Future of Europe.

In his speech, the Secretary-General of the European Democratic Party stressed "the need to reform" the EU in the current situation in which Russia is "attacking values and freedoms" with the invasion of Ukraine. In the face of "empires and power beyond nation states", such as the US, he believes that the European Union "cannot protect its democracies, promote its fundamental values and interests on the European continent and in the rest of the world". Therefore, he said, "the time has come to change in order to survive". "We have to gain influence; we have to be able to increase our democracy", he said. In this way, he called for the materialisation of citizens' proposals in the COFoE. He called for "a rigorous follow-up of what they (citizens) have asked for at three levels: at the level of the European Parliament, at the level of transnational democracy and the level of European effectiveness". "We need to build European power, which is a fundamental historic change," he added. The MEP called for creating "a new democratic power in Europe", accompanied by "a broad debate at citizen, local, regional, national and European level". "We are entering a new historical phase, and we have to change the European Union. We have to give ourselves military, digital, health, environmental, etc. power," he said.

Transnational Civic Space

However, he said that this requires "a transnational civic space", which does not exist now. "The time has come to build a European dimension of politics", he said. Sandro Gozi said citizens are "fed up with a paralysed Europe that cannot act because only one country can block with a veto". "We want a Union that decides by majority," he said, except for some decisions, such as the entry of new members, which must be taken "by unanimity of all".

Sandro Gozi underlined that for Europe to be "effective", a majority must decide it. "For example, we need to increase sanctions against Russia, but we have a country preventing this, a leader who is blackmailing others, and his name is Viktor Orbán of Hungary. Suppose we could adopt majority sanctions in relation to foreign policy. In that case, we could go a step further and take more decisive action as the European Union against Putin's aggression", he stressed, calling for "getting rid of the veto". Likewise, Sandro Gozi referred to the proposed change to the Electoral Law, introducing transnational lists by 2024, and pointed out that European citizens want to vote directly for their representatives in the European Parliament, which will allow for "an effective transnational debate". Sandro Gozi recalled that, with Renaissance, he wanted to create "a federative group of groups and countries to move the Union forward more quickly and open a debate to guarantee stability and peace".

Executive Vice-president of the EDP and President of the PNV, Andoni Ortuzar, pointed out that the "cruel invasion" of Ukraine has raised awareness of "the existing dangers" and stressed that "the value of peace would justify the strengthening of the EU". In line with the progress towards European unity, she highlighted two resolutions passed on 3 and 4 May by the European Parliament, in line with the COFoE proposals, such as the change of the Electoral Law, with the introduction of transnational lists, with 28 parliamentarians elected at EU level; and the call for the establishment of the Convention to study the implementation of the changes in the Treaties.