RIGA – EU presidents in a joint statement call on EU citizens to participate in the European Parliament elections to be held later this May, the Latvian President’s Chancellery.
The joint statement signed by 21 presidents says that European integration has helped to realize a centuries-old hope for peace in Europe after unbridled nationalism and other extreme ideologies led Europe to the barbarity of two world wars. “To this day, we cannot and should not take peace and freedom, prosperity and well-being for granted. It is necessary that we all engage actively for the great idea of a peaceful and integrated Europe,” the statement says.
The presidents believe that now more than ever before, the European Union is facing profound challenges. For the first time since European integration began, people are talking about rolling back one or more integration steps, such as freedom of movement or abolishing joint institutions. For the first time a member state intends to leave the Union. At the same time, others call for more integration in the EU or the Eurozone or for a multi-speed Europe.
“Views on these matters differ among the citizens and governments of the member states, as well as between us Heads of State. However, we all agree that European integration and unity is essential and that we want to continue Europe as a Union. Only a strong community will be able to face up to the global challenges of our time. The effects of climate change, terrorism, economic globalization, and migration do not stop at national borders. We will only meet these challenges successfully and continue on the road to economic and social cohesion and development by working together as equal partners at the institutional level,” the presidents said in their joint statement.
The EU presidents call on citizens to exercise their right to vote. “It is our common European future that is on the ballot,” they said.
The statement has been signed by the presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.