Draghi calls on Europe to “speed up integration process” in view of current crises

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Prime Minister Mario Draghi noted that the sum of the current crises Europe is facing – the war in Ukraine, the increase in energy prices and refugees’ arrivals – “forces us to speed up the integration process”. “We must show the citizens of Europe that we are capable of leading a Europe that lives up to its values, its history and its role in the world.” He also added: “We must move beyond using the principle of unanimity (…) and move towards decisions taken by a qualified majority”, for a “Europe capable of making decisions in a timely manner”.

He was addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg which is meeting in plenary this week.

On the Russian aggression against Ukraine, he stressed that “the priority is to reach a ceasefire as soon as possible”. He added: “We want Ukraine in the EU” and “we must also proceed as quickly as possible”.

Mr Draghi also proposed increasing coordination among national defence systems, strengthening the way the EU manages migration as well as curbing bills and fuel prices and supporting wages to help families. “Now is the time to take this forward. On 9 May the Conference on the Future of Europe ends and the Final Declaration asks us to be very ambitious.”

“The EU is facing another ‘whatever it takes’ moment”, EP President Roberta Metsola said when introducing Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi to the plenary. She added that Mr Draghi already steered the EU out of a crisis when he was President of the European Central Bank. “I have no doubt that we can rely on your experience again as the EU faces another existential crisis”.

Mario Draghi called on the European Union to tackle surging energy costs, saying it should adapt schemes deployed to handle the COVID-19 epidemic to the impact of the Ukraine conflict. He argued that national budgets alone could not finance the spending necessary to uphold sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine without risking domestic upheaval.

“We need strong and immediate decisions,” Draghi told the Strasbourg assembly, saying energy would be at the heart of the next European leaders’ meeting.

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