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ECR

Statement on the Future of Europe - Co-Signed by ECR Group and Debout la France

28 February 2019

We believe in the nations of Europe. Our countries are the source of identity of our peoples and the focal point of their loyalty. National sovereignty is the foundation of democracy and nation states are the main pillars of our civilisation, without which there can be no Europe.Yet many challenges can only be addressed effectively by European partners working together in cooperation within shared institutions.

We believe in the nations of Europe. Our countries are the source of identity of our peoples and the focal point of their loyalty. National sovereignty is the foundation of democracy and nation states are the main pillars of our civilisation, without which there can be no Europe.

Yet many challenges can only be addressed effectively by European partners working together in cooperation within shared institutions.

We therefore reject both the old ideology of supranationalism without limits, and the extreme position that the European Union be abolished. Rejecting both these dead ends, we offer a euro-realist vision of a renewed Europe as community of nations, returning the European Union to its roots as a free association of sovereign states.

For the first few decades after the Second World War, European cooperation achieved much of inestimable value. The growing desire for freedom and solidarity based on a shared Judeo-Christian heritage and enlightenment ideals superseded imperialism and totalitarianism and led to a the rebirth of a free, democratic and prosperous Europe. With the end of the tragic division between east and west, this could now be shared across the whole of Europe.

But the European Union has overreached. Driven by a rootless technocracy, contemptuous of the rights of citizens and sovereign democracy, it has become too centralised, too intrusive in the lives of our fellow citizens and blind to the main challenges of our age. The European Union has repeatedly shown itself to be incapable of addressing the major crises of our time - including those for which it must take its share of the blame - such as mass unemployment, insecurity, immigration, social disruption and identity crises, whilst the flaws of the euro zone have exacerbated Europe’s economic weakness.

We believe it is therefore imperative that we re-launch the European Union as community of nation states:

- European laws and policies should only be adopted where absolutely necessary and when they add value for the citizens; the European Union should prioritise the delivery of tangible benefits in key areas where cross border cooperation is absolutely necessary such as enhancing security for citizens, ensuring the protection of the EU’s external borders, and delivering prosperity & growth for its citizens; genuine subsidiarity requires that decisions are taken as close to citizens as possible and not the reverse;

- The new Europe should do less but do it better in order to end over-regulation, excessive bureaucracy, the eclipse of the general interest by special interests, constant intrusions into areas of national sovereignty, cronyism, and financial mismanagement;

- The principle of national sovereignty entails the equitable treatment of all Member States - new & old, large & small - and that the policies and aims of a few must not be imposed upon the many, particularly in the fields of foreign and commercial policy; Europe must be allowed to develop flexibly so that countries can together pursue scientific, energy, transport, industrial and cultural projects of genuine European interest;

- The common institutions should be the servants of the sovereign States and of their citizens; they must respect peoples of Europe’s right to historical continuity, to enjoy now and in the future their traditions, way of life and character ; they must be placed at the heart of its work to ensure decision-making regains democratic legitimacy.

It is our ambition to build a renewed Europe at the service of its peoples and we commend this vision to our fellow citizens.

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