Macron denounces ‘defeatist’ attitudes used towards the EU
And Raffaele Fitto, co-chair of the European conservative and reformist groups (ECR), also glanced at the “federalists” who he said retained the ambition to create a “European superstate”. The Conference on the Future of Europe, which was invented by French President Emmanuel Macron, aims to provide a “road map” for the EU through broad consultations with its citizens.
Mr Fitto, his co-chair colleague Ryszard Legutko and the leaders of the conservative party Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS, Poland), Giorgia Meloni (FdI, Italy) and Santiago Abascal Conde (Vox, Spain) met yesterday in Warsaw to discuss the project.
More specifically, they pledged to defend the idea of a Europe of Nations free from “unnecessary bureaucracy and new transfers of sovereignty to Brussels”, explained an ECR statement released today.
They also announced plans for further talks, with the possibility of a joint statement setting out their position.
Emmanuel Macron addresses the Conference in Strasbourg
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Fitto said: “We, the Conservatives who want to preserve our national democracies, are concerned that the Conference on the Future of Europe, organized by the European institutions, is not not conceived impartially and simply used as another opportunity to promote the left. wing ideas and the usual federalist agenda of forming a European superstate.
“We are open to participate in this debate, but call on the political leaders of the Conference to take the political balance more seriously.
“Otherwise, the Conference will fail and bring more discord than good to Europe.”
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Emmanuel Macron, Ursula von der Leyen and others at the event
Mr. Fitto underlined: “Our idea of Europe is different from that of the federalists: our common values defend the family as the foundation of society, the sovereign integrity of the nation-state, opposition to federalism. European Union and a renewed respect for genuine subsidiarity, as well as individual freedom and greater democratic accountability. “
As such, he underlined the need for “effectively controlled immigration” and to put an end to “abuse of asylum procedures”.
He added: “We consider these targets to be reasonable and ask that they also be taken into account.”
In the meantime, Mr Legutko said: “The limits of the competences of the European Union are fixed by the principle of attribution: all competences not conferred on the Union belong to the Member States.
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Raffaele Fitto, co-chair of the ECR group
Ryszard Legutko is the other co-chair of the ECR group
It is clear to us that we must say: So far and no further
“We believe that consensus must remain the basic means to reach a common position in the EU.
“In recent years we have seen the political spectrum of the European Parliament shift more to the left.
“We need a conservative renaissance, comprising a formidable and united team to defend the values that define our nations, our societies and our continent.
“It is clear to us that we have to say: so far and no further.”
Emmanuel Macron’s information pack
Speaking at the inaugural event of the Conference in Strasbourg on May 9, Mr Macron said: “We have to be honest that the Conference is not a panacea or a solution to all problems.
“And we need to listen to all voices – whether critical or complementary – and make sure that we are properly following whatever is agreed.
“But I think this conference is a real opportunity to bring Europeans together and rally around a common ambition for our future, as previous generations have done.
“And neither should we underestimate the power of the good it could do – for individuals individually and for society as a whole.”
Guy Verhofstadt, frequent Brexit critic, is a strong supporter of the initiative
He added: “The point is that the EU has to be what Europeans want it to be.
“Of course, the start of the Conference is not the time to predict or prescribe results. But there are certain dichotomies and issues that we should try to resolve.
“For example, some feel that Europe is too close and too involved in their lives. For others, it is too distant or too detached.
“This is an opportunity for Europeans to help find the right balance.”