Today it is more important that ever to state that Europe is not just a market, but a union that unites people and countries to secure peace and freedom across our continent.
As a consequence of the economic crisis, optimism and hope has been replaced by disbelief and despair among many citizens. In times when nationalism, xenophobia and protectionism increases in many countries, I realise as a liberal that we can only build a safe, open and prosperous Europe through increased integration and closer cooperation.
The EU needs order to tackle common European challenges, such as climate change, organised crime and the competitiveness of our companies. We also need to ensure a fair and just treatment of asylum seekers in our union.
Europe is a continent with enormous resources, well-educated citizens as well as creativity and cultural diversity. Even the largest and most powerful Member States will, if standing alone, lose influence in our globalised world. But together we can meet the challenges of tomorrow.
The European Union is founded on fundamental values such as democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and each person’s right to live their lives without being subject to discrimination based on sexual orientation, disability or ethnic background.
I believe on the individuals’ and not on the states’ rights. Therefore, the EU, especially in difficult times, must represent a powerful armor in countries where governments are challenging the rights of the citizen. The EU acted with vigour and defended the Hungarian citizens when the government criminalised the homeless, introduced a censoring media council and jeopardised the rule of law.
The EU has also taken a tough stand against the press freedom in Italy and acted against Lithuanian laws criminalising information about homosexuality. When the principles of democracy and citizens’ rights are violated, I will never quietly observe, but tirelessly criticise the abuses. I will always defend and uphold the fundamental values that forms the foundation of the EU.
Together we are strong!