Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš debated the future of Europe with MEPs and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.
In his address to MEPs, Prime Minister K. Kariņš pointed out that the EU is a union based on values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. He stated that many people in Europe often forget that European history is mostly a history of war, as countries settled their differences through battle, not tiresome negotiations and votes, as we do today. K. Kariņš added that the EU is not only about shared values, but also about economic growth and development.
In his address to MEPs, Latvian PM stressed that we live in a time where politicians offer very simplistic answers to very difficult questions – often referred to as “populists” – are grabbing the attention of voters throughout Europe.
“My simple message is – don’t fight the populists. It’s a worthless endeavour. Try to understand why are people listening to the populists. Why are people unhappy.”
According to Latvian PM K. Kariņš, main cause why so many people are disillusioned with politics, because recently Europe has gone through four crisis – Banking crisis, Economic crisis, Migration crisis, and at the moment, a certain kind of Political crisis. Consequently, many people are casting their vote based upon four basic concerns – concerns for their jobs, concerns for their way of life (immigration), concerns about the environment, and concerns for their safety and security.
In order to address these concerns, K. Kariņš stated that the EU should strengthen the basics. “We need to strengthen the basics – strengthen the Single Market, tear down the barriers, control our outer borders, bring down the threat of uncontrolled immigration, have a clever transition to clean energy, and focus on our common security, not only through the military, but also through the security of the information world that we live in.”
“The EU is not and never will be perfect, but it is best thing I can think of. Member States have joined by their own free will and with consent of their citizens. Member States can leave the EU, but we see in Brexit actually none of us has realized how difficult that would be. The good will and unanimous position and sticking together of remaining EU 27 is as testimony that we can get through difficult times through discussion, through debate without resorting to any kind of violence. This is the key how the EU works. We talk with one another, not fight one another.”
Latvian PM rounded up the speech by stressing: “Don’t fight the populists, address causes of people’s malcontent. Left alone, we are like a sub sticks, we are just individual sticks, we can be broken one by one. Even the large European countries are small in the world. United, as that bundle of sticks, the European Union is major force in the world. We can bring our core values – freedom, democracy and rule of law – to take bearing on other countries.”
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