Minister Hugo de Jonge sprak vandaag op het EVP congres in Zagreb. Lees zijn speech hier terug:
Mister president, Ladies and gentleman,
I feel privileged to speak here today.
Because we are united in our belief in a common European future. We come from many different places, but we share the same values and purpose.
We are blessed by the freedom, prosperity and solidarity that help European member states flourish. You’ll only need to look around you, right here in Zagreb, to see that this is true.
Fear of falling
But that our continent is doing great, also brings us to what the Americans call: ‘the fear of falling’. Europeans cherish their prosperity and their freedom, and yet they are afraid to lose them.
And those concerns are real. We must not ignore these concerns, because the future ís uncertain.
In some countries the younger population is declining because youngsters move to other parts of Europe.
In other parts of Europe people fear economic migration.
It shows us that the differences between east and west and north and south, are still to big.
We can overcome these differences by continuing our efforts to modernise our economies and to invest in the future for younger generations.
And while we do so, we also have to face challenges from abroad that cause the fear of falling, such as geopolitical shifts, increasing migration and our rapidly changing climate.
Let me start with the shifting balances in geopolitics.
Brexit is about to happen. There is an ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
And speaking about the US, can we still rely on the Americans in the same way as in the past?
And then there is NATO, formed in the aftermath of World War II, to secure the freedom of member states and to promote stability worldwide.
Today some people claim NATO is braindead.
But I say NATO is crucial to defend European security interests.
That’s why the Dutch military is proud to serve under the same NATO flag together with your Croat soldiers. But we need to do more. We should not be dependent on others for our own security.
As we speak, our Greek friends are suffering the pressure of increasing migration flows. There is still a steady flow of people who want to come to Europe from African and Middle Eastern countries.
European citizens worry about the growing population of African countries, and about the sustainability of the Turkey deal.
Those are serious concerns that demand honest answers.
We are committed to help support the efforts to secure the European external border.
And we also cannot leave southern European countries alone in dealing with migration.
Solidarity and responsibility are both crucial to the Member States. And we need to do better, together, because if we don’t, we will break Europe instead of bolstering our continent.
A third challenge for Europe is our rapidly changing climate. It has been said before: we are the first generation that really experiences climate change and the last generation that can really do something about it. But that also entails the responsibility to help people understand why we take measures and how they will increase the quality of their children’s lives. Because some people want to save the planet, but most people want to be able to provide for their families.
Facing up to these challenges, means that the concerns of ordinary people should be our concerns. Because if we do not provide proper answers to those concerns, the populists will pretend to do so.
And Europe can’t afford the destabilizing effect thát causes.
It is our task, the task of the EPP-family - to take the lead in the search for new certainties.
Ladies and gentlemen, We are stepping into a new era. An era in which Europe’s unity and leadership will be challenged.
Let’s dig deep into our roots and be united as EPP and Europe in facing these challenges. In that way we honor our children, our working people and our senior citizens. Because they are the ones who have sacrificed to realise the freedom and solidarity in Europe that feels so common, but is so fragile today.
And it is our promise to them, to make it just as valuable for our children tomorrow.