“For the first time since the creation of the European Union, this is not only a political battle to defend a vision of the European Union. This is a political battle to defend the European project itself.”
These were the words of EPP Secretary-General Antonio López-Istúriz White, who addressed EPP-CoR members at their Group meeting on 9 October.
Speaking about the 2019 European elections, López-Istúriz White mentioned the lack of proper communication on the EU’s achievements as a key concern, which has allowed populists to gain footing in many countries. He also affirmed that thanks to the European People´s Party, the EU has implemented policies like the Juncker Plan that has benefited 700,000 SMEs and created 12 million jobs over the last 4 years. López-Istúriz insisted that the EPP should not be afraid of claiming the credit for them.
The European People’s Party member parties must work together and be united to regain people’s trust across Europe. This should be done by demonstrating the capacity of the EPP to deliver responsible solutions to the issues that people care about, López-Istúriz White stressed.
EPP Local Dialogues bring Europe closer to people
The guiding principle of the EPP has always been to take decisions as close to the citizens as possible, respecting the principle of subsidiarity, López-Istúriz White said. He sees the EPP Local Dialogue initiative as extremely important for reconnecting with people and showing how the EU works in practice for the benefit of our citizens.
“People want to have influence on the things that happen in their daily lives, and this is were we come in, as representatives of our cities and regions at European level. European unity in diversity is one of our biggest assets”, said EPP-CoR President Michael Schneider.
Apostolos Tzitzikostas, EPP-CoR Political Coordinator for the 2019 European elections, confirmed this view and added that EPP-CoR members can support the EPP in the elections by organising local citizen dialogues, by reminding people about the importance to vote and by showing them how EU funds have been put to good use in concrete projects in our cities and regions.
Regarding the EU’s next multiannual financial framework, López-Istúriz White mentioned investments in Cohesion Policy, the Common Agricultural Policy and research and innovation as strong priorities for the EPP, as these funding streams improve the life of our European citizens and farmers and create jobs and growth across our continent.