Extracts from the debate between a.o. Hans-Gert Pöttering, José Manuel Barroso, Mario Sepi, Margot Wallström, on the European Citizens' Consultation
End production: 11/05/2009
"What can the EU do to shape our economic and social future in a globalised world?" This was the question for the consultations to the European citizens from all 27 Member States who participated in this action through an online debate, 27 national conferences and the European Citizens Summit. The results will be followed-up in regional debates.
People from all walks of life taking part in a unique pan-European debate on the EU's economic and social future have called for wide-ranging measures to address the economic and social challenges facing Europe. They are recommending EU action to tackle global warming and phase out fossil fuels, develop a common healthcare system, ensure harmonised labour standards across the EU, create incentives to stop companies moving production to low-wage countries outside the Union, combat social inequalities and move towards a common social welfare system, and harmonise educational and vocational systems. The citizens also want action to regulate the financial markets and strengthen consumer protection, closer cooperation in the fight against crime, measures to promote sustainable agricultural practices, steps to make politicians and civil servants' activities more accountable and transparent, and a greater role for the EU in dealing with illegal immigration.
These were the key issues addressed in 15 recommendations for EU action presented by the citizens and discussed with top EU decision-makers at the first European Citizens' Summit held on 11 May 2009 in Brussels, just weeks ahead of the June 2009 European elections. The 150 citizens who took part in the Summit were drawn from the 1,605 randomly-selected members of the public who attended the national debates organised in all 27 EU Member States as part of the 2009 European Citizens' Consultations.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the Palais d'Egmont
||Soundbite by Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the EP, (in ENGLISH): the basic of our work, of our engagement, is that we want a strong, democratic, European Union that is transparent and has a possibility to act; and our EU is not just a geographical organisation or political organisation; it is a community which is based on values, on the dignity of the human being, human rights, democracy, legal order, peace and we are united by the principle of solidarity.
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, (in ENGLISH): the message that comes it is not "no Europe, you have to do less"; on the contrary there is an understanding that Europe has to do more, and more in many areas; and, as my good friend Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the Parliament, said, you started with climate change and energy, but afterwards there are other priorities; climate change and energy, we are proud, because in fact in these years we have launched the most ambitious response so far in the world to fight climate change and to start having something that is the European energy policy.
||Cutaways: Pat Cox, former President of the EP, Moderator of the debate, asking for questions of the citizens (2 shots)
||Soundbite by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH) on more attention to the social dimension: that is very important as well; that is why we are doing everything we can now with the means we have at European level to work with our Member States, to respond to the economic and financial crisis.
||Cutaway: one of the citizens in the debate asking a question
||Soundbite by Mario Sepi, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, (in ITALIAN): already in the Convention - when the Constitutional Treaty was being decided - we tried to introduce the social Europe inside the Treaty; but there is a conflict in the sense that there was a majority of the forces against a social harmonisation in Europe comparing to those who wanted it, speaking about an EU Labour Code; but the new Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty, previews a Chart of Fundamental Rights and with that one we could construct a social Europe.
||Cutaway: Moderator Pat Cox asking for questions from the citizens (2 shots)
||Soundbite by Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Institutional Relations and Communication Strategy, (in ENGLISH) on the question of "our social and economic future, what can Europe do about it?": your recommendations include as has been discussed: tackling global warming, phase out fossil fuels, a common health care system, harmonised labour standards across the EU, combat social inequalities, etc; I suspect some of these recommendations came as a surprise to some politicians and to some Member States, including the idea of a European identity card; but that is good; without ideas and visions, suggestions and solutions, like the ones you've discussed, politics won't develop.