News Presidency

Statement by the Lehendakari on Europe Day 2024

2024 May 9

Today we commemorate 74 years since the signing of the Schuman Declaration.

This Declaration is considered to be the birth certificate of the European Union.

Today its principles are more relevant than ever and we claim the values that inspired it as the basis for progress and coexistence among the populations of Europe. It is also the basis for cooperation and harmony in a globalised world.

We are on the verge of new elections to the European Parliament, which will take place between 6 and 9 June.

Europe is once again at a crossroads.

The world governed by the international order established after 1945 is threatened by worrying trends that have consequences for multilateralism, free trade and international cooperation.

Since Russia's unilateral invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the stability achieved after World War II has been threatened in Europe.

Today, one of Schuman's ideas is particularly pertinent: "world peace cannot be safeguarded without creative efforts commensurate with the dangers that threaten it".

It is clear that the configuration of the new geopolitical balances threatens peace, and guaranteeing it becomes a priority that requires a shared "creative effort" within the European Union.

In 2024, tensions have increased rather than easing. The Near and Middle East are bleeding out, with the defenceless civilian population being severely affected.

The increase in armed conflicts is a tangible reality, yet a Common Defence Policy in Europe is not yet a tangible reality.

Twenty years after the last major enlargement of the Union, a new one is knocking on the door. Globalisation is understood differently today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and Europe is called upon to develop its own strategic autonomy.

Europe and the world are facing the tripartite energy, digital and social transition.

To meet this challenge, Europe must reinforce the Single Market, and a European financial, communications and energy market must be established as a matter of urgency.

This Europe Day, I call for a fair Cohesion Policy as a structural element of the Single Market, and as a means to achieve a closer, more efficient and cohesive European Union for the benefit of all citizens.

In reality, the crisis is an opportunity and, as Monnet stated, "men only accept change resigned by necessity and only see necessity during crises".

We also need a common industrial policy, and the configuration of a fifth European freedom, in addition to the existing ones, which strengthens research, innovation and education, along the lines proposed by Enrico Letta in his report "Much more than a market".

We also need a Europe committed to multilateralism, dialogue and cooperation.

The successive financial crises, Brexit, the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have made Europe stronger and more integrated.

The process of European integration requires vision, boldness and political will.

Making progress in this process requires the sum of all wills, of the States and also of the different regions and nations that must make their contribution to the constitutional architecture that the new Europe demands.

In this respect, it is high time to structure effective multilevel governance based on the principle of subsidiarity, so that the regions and nationalities with legislative powers can fully develop their own constitutional powers within the Union, enriching its debates, strengthening its legitimacy, increasing democratic participation and control, and contributing to the process of European construction and integration.

I reiterate our pro-European commitment, while calling for the need to strengthen the Atlantic Arc as a means to advance shared challenges and projects: an innovative and sustainable Atlantic economy; an Atlantic Area interconnected in transport, digitisation and energy; an Area resilient to climate change; an Atlantic Area united in social and cultural terms to ensure the attractiveness of the territories and improve skills in the main sectors of smart specialisation.

I reaffirm Euskadi's commitment to a European Union that promotes cultural diversity and inclusion, quality of life and well-being. A Europe that defends the dignity of the individual, social cohesion, human rights and the peaceful coexistence of all the population of which it is formed.

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Politicians attending the event