"We need a more efficient, more flexible, more resilient and more democratic European Union," European Parliament President David Sassoli told PACE today.
Referring to the global health crisis, Mr Sassoli stressed that the only way to overcome it was "through solidarity, within Europe and with the rest of the world", and recalled the adoption of "unprecedented policies which, a few months earlier, would have been unthinkable. Through the negotiation and adoption of the Economic Recovery Instrument and the Multiannual Financial Framework, we have proposed a sustainable development model for the EU centred on social and environmental justice."
David Sassoli pointed out that it is in this context that the Conference on the Future of Europe will be launched on 9 May: "Its aim is to offer a moment of reflection on the lessons of the crisis we are going through, as well as on how to strengthen European democracy," he said.
Unfortunately, the President of the European Parliament warned, the values that guide the EU and the Council of Europe "are not indestructible. And that is why their defence requires all our determination and energy". Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention "clearly shows that we are witnessing a step backwards in respect for human rights and democratic principles", he said, adding that in Belarus "the crimes and human rights violations that have been committed must be punished".
Referring to the detention of Alexei Navalny, he called for common efforts "to ensure that the Russian authorities urgently provide him with the medical assistance he needs", and said that "the European Parliament will continue to demand his immediate and unconditional release". On the deployment of Russian troops along the Ukrainian borders and in Crimea, he said that "an easing of tensions is essential, as it is essential that Russia steps back and respects its international commitments".
"I look forward to the day when the links between our institutions are further strengthened by the EU's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights. The resumption of accession negotiations demonstrates our determination to achieve this goal, of which the Parliament has been an active promoter," he concluded.