For the first time ever, we, the National parliamentary group chairpersons of the Progressive parties of the European Union, have met in Rome, to express our commitment to progressive changes in our countries and in Europe and to strengthen cooperation and communication between the various social democratic group leaders in the national parliaments. This is an Italian Democratic Party’s initiative in cooperation with the German Social Democratic Party, which immediately has been joined by the Groups of the PES of Austria, France, Sweden, Hungary and Luxembourg.
We stress our ultimate objective to empower all citizens to have a good quality of life and fully participate in the life of our societies. European citizens need to see a real positive difference in their daily lives, not in five or ten years, but now. Our family’s objective remains that of full employment.
Our common responsibility is to promote the European Union as an actor of social fairness, growth, integration, and democracy. As members of the PES, as leaders of our parliamentary groups in our respective parliaments, we will spare no effort in that respect. We will continue to fight for a social Europe, for a Europe that is democratic, for a Europe that is close to its citizens.
Our discussions have focused on three main topics: employment and sustainable growth; Migration, Solidarity and responsibility and security.
We emphasize the need of a solid economic growth by mobilizing investments and creating jobs. We would like to exploit all the room of manoeuvre of the actual European legal framework to consider some public expenses as extraordinary investments, indeed necessary to overcome temporary situation of crisis and, notwithstanding, we remain committed to respect the path of stability and responsible management of public resources that we are pursuing. Education and innovation are two key elements we must stress with regard to investment plans. Our main aim remains to create jobs for all. This must be done for our future generations but also to put an end to the rising populist demagogy of many movements and parties all around Europe. To put an end to social inequalities, we will carrying on fighting for fairer societies and stronger economies by combating tax fraud and tax evasion.
We, social democratic, democratic and socialist parties in Europe must take the lead in addressing the biggest refugee crisis we are facing nowadays. Solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility should not be empty words but solid principles guiding our actions. We need to overcome divisions, reaching as soon as possible a real and positive implementation of the agreements reached on relocation quotas, hotspots and financial support in order to handle the migration crisis. The answer of a progressive political movement to the actual situation can neither consist in rising new walls or in dismantling the Schengen acquis, endangering freedom of movement in Europe and losing one of the most relevant and emblematic aspect of the Union. It is of utmost importance to put the respect of human dignity at the top of our agenda. While thinking of how to handle the new flow of people seeking for protection, we must propose effective integration policies for those who have the right to stay in our countries.
No country can deal with today’s emergencies alone. This is why we agree that we must face the challenges of Europe together, with a progressive programme. Only together we can rebuild trust in the European project. We will make sure that Schengen cannot be questioned and the EU values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities are be fully respected.