In a world characterised by globalisation and rapid change, the EU needs new visions and more cooperation between our Member States in order to remain one of the world's most competitive and knowledge-based economies.
Brexit, the result of Britain’s referendum on EU membership, became an important alarm clock for all of us who believe in the European project and who see the benefits of finding common solutions to common challenges and difficulties.
At the time of globalisation, not even Germany, the EU’s economic engine, is a strong and competitive country on the global arena.
For the EU to remain an important and significant player, new life must be injected into the European union.
The fundamental idea of the EU must reach, touch and come closer to the citizens. The stories about the EU need to be filled with new content that is relevant to the citizens. As nationalism, xenophobia and protectionism are growing in member states I realize that we can only build a safe, open and successful Europe through increased European integration and a deepened cooperation in areas such as freedom, security and foreign policy.
It is more important now than ever to stress that the EU is not primarily a marketplace, but a union that has been created to unify people and countries, and to ensure lasting peace and freedom on our continent.
I believe in individuals and not in state rights. When democratic principles and citizens’ rights are violated I will never observe passively, but I will always stand up and defend the values that form the very foundations of the EU. The ground must be stable in order to build upon it the rest of the European cooperation.
Together, our member states can provide protection and new life chances to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and hardships that are taking place in an uneasy environment.
Together, EU member states can demand China, the US and other major economies reach global climate agreements that can curb global warming.
Together, the EU can fight the growing terrorist threats and cross-border crime syndicates.
Together, the EU can form a strong counter-part to Russia’s increasingly authoritarian and aggressive superpower ambitions.
Together we are strong!