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Socialists urge EU to seize the moment and draw the path to a better future for Europe

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Europe’s future should be built on the principle of sustainability and respect for the climate, European Socialists said, as the party pushed to shape he Conference on the Future of Europe. Taking credit for pushing through a strong recovery plan, the Socialists stressed that it was important that the future European project helps Europe to reconnect, so people see that it improves peoples lives, particularly at a time of rising inequalities.

Addressing a Europe-wide party event, PES President Sergei Stanishev said: “For more than 70 years, the European project has been part of our daily lives and our identity. Europe is a symbol of peace, solidarity, and prosperity. This is something very precious that we must keep for the future. Many sectors in our economies have been swept away. We can see inequality and insecurity rising. This is a big challenge. This process will require courage. It will require a lot of work. Now we have to deliver. As socialist, as progressives, let us draw a path to a better future. Let us state firmly that a brighter future for young people starts today.”

The Secretary of the Partito Democratico Enrico Letta, described this process as unique, as it mobilizes citizens, makes them discuss and decide alongside diplomats and government representatives. It is the revolution that will make democracy stronger.

Iratxe Garper, President of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament added: “It’s time to come together so that men and women can participate and tell us about the Europe that we want to build together”. She insisted that this debate should not be limited to cosmopolitan elites or capital cities. “We need to give a prominent role to young people and involve civil society and social partners so that they can contribute their experience”, she quipped.

Maltese citizens among most enthusiastic to share their views

Maltese citizens are among the most enthusiastic at sharing their views, with some 60% of respondents to a recent Eurobarometer survey saying that ordinary citizens should be actively involved in the Conference, ten percentage points more than the EU average. Some 47% of respondents would be interested in sharing their views themselves.

Questioned on the major concern facing Europe at the moment, Maltese respondents identified environmental issues and climate change as the biggest pressing threat (39%), a staggering 20% increase in the space of 18 months. Unemployment, followed in second place at 34%, an issue which also shot up significantly since the onset of the pandemic.

The survey however reflects that, in line with their European counterparts, Maltese respondents want effective change. Asked what would entice them to take part in the Conference on the Future of Europe, more than 40% of respondents said that they would so if they could be convinced that their participation would deliver actual change.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a citizen-led series of debates and discussions that will enable people from across Europe to share their ideas and help shape our common future. The Conference, which is availing itself of an interactive platform to welcome views from the four corners of the continent, is open to all EU citizens, as well as EU institutions and bodies, national Parliaments, national and local authorities and civil society.

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.