The Socialist Group within the Assembly of the Council of Europe (SOC) and the S&D Group in the European Parliament :

Bringing Europe closer to its citizen

Promotion of social policies, better communication to make Europe closer to citizens, give European solutions instead of national ones. These were some of the topics discussed on Wednesday 16th of November 2016 in a common meeting “How to relaunch the European federalism a progressive vision” in Brussels between the Socialist and Democrats Group (S&D) and the Socialist Group within the Assembly of the Council of Europe (SOC).

« We need to put in an immediate agenda economic, social and environmental policies to regain the citizens trust in the EU, to show that Europe is able to handle migrants flows and to elaborate sustainable environmental policies” said Gianni Pittella the President of the S&D Group, opening the debate. “Then, but only after some time, we can think about reviewing of the treaties and the EU integration process, because at the moment I’m not even sure we all agree on that. We cannot continue to have national parliaments blocking EU decisions, even when in the case of CETA was good to have more time. We need to make the Europe closer to citizens, now it is urgent to save Europe, we cannot wait ».

During the debate the progressive representatives from both groups, underlined the need to give political and social answers to citizens, to make Europe closer to people.

« During the economic crisis poverty arises and the first consequence is that poor people do not have access to human rights protection, people do not have any hope for their future. Unemployment creates uncertainness, that uncertainness generates fears, extremism and the rejection of everything. It seems we have lost the promotion of social policies and people think the solution must be at the national level. If we want to avoid other Brexits, Europe needs to give answers to citizens and Socialist have to provide democratic answers » said Andreas Gross from SOC.

In both groups opinion it is urgent to think on Socialists failures in recent years to elaborate better political actions and avoid Europe’s destruction and populism arise.

« We need to realise a European policy that answers to citizens needs, EU institutions and their decisions making mechanism are too slow, and we need to change that. We advocate for Council ability to vote with the majority system, because an institution cannot work efficiently if takes decisions only with unanimity votes. European decisions arrive always too late, quite often after the events took place. That contributes to create the division between the EU institutions and the EU citizens. Furthermore, to discuss common policies on some issues such security, defence, foreign policy and enlargement we do not have to wait the treaties » said Mercedes Bresso S&D MEP.

« We have to send a clear message to the EU citizens that the alternative to Europe is the democracy demolition, we have to be self-critical and admit our failures to better act, every day we have to build cohesion with citizens » said Axel Schäfer from SOC.

Progressives underlined the need to work on building a different Europe.

« As socialists we want a different Europe and we have to tell that to EPP. We have to act for a change because citizens ask for that. I’m member of Federalist movement because I saw a future in that way, but the common citizen does not see it anymore » said Dirk Van der Maelen from SOC.