Address in the plenary session by Cecilia Wikström, Strasbourg 1 february 2017:
– Mr President, I would like to say thank you, Madam Commissioner, for your engagement, your commitment and your good intentions. It goes without saying that the European Union should always contribute to stability, growth and the protection of human rights and democracy in our neighbouring countries, but we must never, ever, outsource our own responsibilities and obligations in respect of migration policies and people in need, or externalise our borders.
In times where, on a daily basis, we witness what the ugly face of populism in power really means, all decent and progressive forces on this continent need to unite. We need to put our differences aside and take the bold steps required to preserve the values that created the foundations of this very Union on the ruins of the Second World War. Openness, respect, a rejection of nationalism and egoism and, instead, the promotion of human decency, these are what we must now engage in.
Europe flourishes when we work together, and when we act on the basis of visions and hope, rather than our fears and prejudices. I hope that is the spirit in which you will work in Valletta this weekend and I wish you much success. I hope we bring back the message that what we need now are shared values and shared responsibilities for the people in need. Please, Madam Commissioner, bring that message back.
Link to the video of the speech.