A united Europe, more solidarity and further integration is the answer to the crisis that Europe faces today, said Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk during the presentation of the Polish Presidency's programme at the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg on 6 July.

The Polish Prime Minister sent a powerful message of optimism and belief in the European project, providing his own country as an example and reminding his audience of the facts of Europe's history. Two decades ago, Poland emerged from behind the Iron Curtain and from serious hardships thanks to European solidarity. Today it is an EU Member State with a strong economy, and 80% of its citizens support the EU project.

Solution to the current crisis: solidarity

Prime Minister Tusk is confident that Europe can survive this crisis, which is relatively trivial compared to what Europeans had to live through during the two World Wars and in the early years of the EU.

Those hardships are now history thanks to European solidarity, which ought to be the solution to the crisis we face today.

"Solidarity", said Prime Minister Tusk, "does not mean giving out alms, but working together for the common interest. Somebody has to give a little more to help those in need, so that once they are back on their feet, they in turn can do the giving."

… and further integration

Another solution to the current situation is further European integration. The Prime Minister asked whether it was worth abandoning all that is at the heart of Europe, having functioned smoothly for decades, because of one financial crisis.

This becomes all the more apparent when one considers that the reasons for that crisis do not lie in "the united Europe, its institutions, its budget, or its objectives".

"The best thing that Europeans have ever done is to unite their continent", stressed the Prime Minister; however, "nationalism, protectionism and state-ism have always resulted in disaster."

In addition, he says Europeans too often forget that they live in a society where fundamental and human rights enjoy the highest level of protection in the world. While they question the need for the EU, millions of people outside its borders would love to live in the political, social and economic circumstances that Europe has to offer.

Maintaining the free movement of persons

The Prime Minister dismissed the re-establishment of internal border controls as a solution to the current immigration problems. This amounts to "looking for answers in the wrong place". Instead, he suggested, the EU needs to strengthen and increase the protection of its external borders.

Presidency priorities

- A Secure Europe (secure and stable public finances, military security, stable borders and internal security, security of resources and food supply);

- Further development of the internal market, focusing in particular on the dismantling of internal barriers;

- A Europe benefiting from Openness (further enlargement is another way of enhancing Europe's internal security).

The Prime Minister said that, while he understands the limited time and powers of the EU Council Presidency, he is sure Poland can contribute by "injecting Polish enthusiasm and optimism", which should help to overcome the crisis.



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    April 2013