“We must not take for granted everything that has been done to defend the Europe of peace, human rights and democracy, but commit ourselves every day to safeguard and protect these gains,” said Marina Carobbio, President of the Swiss National Council, introducing a debate on “Our Common European Home: the next 70 years”, at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament.
“This questioning of the shared principles underlying democracy is multiplying and gaining ground in many countries,” she said, noting that these criticisms were not only aimed at European institutions, but also at the values they embodied such as equality, the protection of minorities, mutual respect and solidarity, and appeals for vigilance.
Moreover, “many of the challenges we face are not limited to national borders. Climate change, migration and digitisation, to name but a few, are global issues that require responses beyond the jurisdiction of States,” Ms Carobbio said, adding that finding common solutions was essential, without minimising the important role played by national parliaments in passing laws to implement these solutions.
To address these challenges, she stressed the importance of encouraging meetings and debates such as this conference and strengthening interparliamentary exchange platforms. “These exchanges are necessary to provide citizens with the answers they expect in the era of globalisation. The Council of Europe, to have a future, must have this capacity for discussion, analysis and defense of values,” Ms Carobbio concluded.