Always remember that the EU is the best place on Earth to live in - I can say this as a woman
On 11 July, Commissioner Violeta Bulc took part in a special cross-border Citizens' Dialogue with around 200 people from all walks
of life. Symbolically, the event took place on the famous Transalpina Square directly on the border between the Italian town of Gorizia and the Slovenian Nova Gorica.
The passionate debate touched upon the White Paper on the future of Europe, transport matters such as the Trans-European Transport Network, cross-border issues in relation to the European Area of Territorial Cooperation and the refugee crisis.
Commissioner Bulc began with a heartfelt declaration that, in her opinion and as a woman, Europe is the best place on this planet to live. In an opening question to the audience, it transpired that hardly anybody in the room felt their voice was heard in the EU.
The Commissioner urged participants to get involved and to write to her with their concerns and concrete proposals. She explained that the reason she became a politician after having worked as an entrepreneur was precisely because she felt that her voice was not heard.
One participant raised his concerns about the safety of tunnels
in Europe. The Commissioner agreed that this was a pressing issue, and mentioned that up to 70 people die each day in road traffic accidents in Europe. She also highlighted the economic impact these accidents have.
Several citizens had questions relating to the missing rail links between Italy and Slovenia, namely the lack of a link between Trieste
and Ljubljana. Commissioner Bulc clearly explained what is required
to put such a proposal into action, stressing that Member States should adopt a common language in order to increase communication
and cooperation between each other.
When the debate moved to the future of Europe, the Commissioner
was asked directly which of the 5 scenarios described in the European Commission's White Paper she preferred. Commissioner Bulc remarked that she does not sympathise with any of the options particularly, especially that of a multi-speed Europe, and thought that a sixth option was likely to emerge.
On the subject of migration, Commissioner Bulc praised the Italian people highly for how they are managing the refugee crisis, and drew attention to the Commission's recent decisions aimed at increasing support to Italy. A participant wondered why the rescuing of refugees
at sea was delegated to NGOs, rather than being dealt with by the government.
Finally, the Commissioner described a concrete project that had emerged in a previous Dialogue with citizens and is now being adopted: that of offering pre-paid travel cards to Erasmus students using environmentally-friendly modes of transport.
The Citizens' Dialogue in Gorizia/Nova Gorica was part of a series
of Citizens' Dialogues that involve the whole European Commission
and take place in all EU Member States.