MEPs backed Mario Draghi’s call to reform the EU to guarantee sustainable economic growth, during a “This is Europe” debate in Strasbourg on 3 May.
“The EU is facing another ‘whatever it takes’ moment,” Parliament President Roberta Metsola said when introducing Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi. She noted that he had steered the EU out of a crisis when he was President of the European Central Bank. “I have no doubt that we can rely on your experience again as the EU faces another existential crisis.”
Prime Minister Draghi said the combination of the current crises in Europe – the war in Ukraine, the increase in energy prices and refugee arrivals – “forces us to speed up the integration process”. “We must show the citizens of Europe that we are capable of leading a Europe that lives up to its values, its history and its role in the world.” He added: “We must move beyond using the principle of unanimity (…) and move towards decisions taken by a qualified majority”, for a “Europe capable of making decisions in a timely manner.”
On the Russian aggression against Ukraine, he said: “The priority is to reach a ceasefire as soon as possible.” “We want Ukraine in the EU,” he said. “We must also proceed as quickly as possible.”
Draghi also proposed increasing coordination among national defence systems, strengthening the way the EU manages migration, as well as curbing bills and fuel prices and supporting wages to help families.
You can watch both speeches here.
Political group leaders
Reacting to the speech, MEPs commended Italy’s leadership and commitment to the EU, especially during the pandemic. They stressed that EU cooperation and solidarity is needed more than ever in the light of Russian aggression and other crises Europe is facing, be it climate change or helping refugees. MEPs highlighted the importance of energy transition and independence as key to the EU’s long-term success as well as a measure to help Ukraine. You can watch political group leaders’ speeches here.
You can watch the full debate here.
This was the second in the “This is Europe” series of debates on a common agenda for Europe’s future.