Under the auspices of the parliamentary dimension of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Bucharest hosted the interparliamentary conference on the Future of the European Union on 1-2 April 2019.
The Conference was attended by parliamentarians from the EU member states, European Parliament, EU candidates, Eastern Partnership and representatives of other institutions from Europe and the US. The delegation of the National Assembly’s European Integration Committee comprises Committee Deputy Chairperson Elvira Kovacs and Committee member Dusica Stojkovic.
The participants debated future policies with representatives from the European political groups, defending citizens and European values in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, the economy of the future by debating on the need for a reform of the economic model, as well as enlargement, Eastern Partnership and Euro-Atlantic relations.
The conference was opened by the President of the Senate of Romania, Mr. Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu saying that it is widely agreed that the process of European integration has placed our countries on an unprecedented level of human development, economic growth, stability, welfare and, above all, mutual understanding and profitable cooperation. This is an undeniable and valuable achievement that overturns the previous history of our continent.
He went on to say that believed that national Parliaments should take the lead and set the tone of the debates on the future of the European Union. As representatives of our national constituencies, we ought to make sure that a shared vision of the future of our Union would necessary reflect as widely as possible and in an inclusive manner the interests and concerns of all member states. Our Founders envisioned a Europe free from any form of diktat politics and national or bureaucratic arrogance, a Europe without great powers leading and second-rate countries following.
European Integration Committee Deputy Chairperson Elvira Kovacs said that from the perspective of a candidate state we believe it is vital to maintain the economic well-being and political stability of the Union, stressing that despite the many challenges the Union is faced with, a continuation of the enlargement policy must not be brought into question and the recent support for the EU enlargement policy to include the Western Balkans is encouraging. She hoped that the European Union would remain focused on the Western Balkans despite these challenges.
She thanked Bulgaria, Austria and Romania for putting enlargement back on the agenda, and especially Kristian Vigenin, Chair of the Bulgarian Parliament’s Committee on European Affairs and Oversight of the European Funds, for setting 2025 as the year of enlargement.
At the end of the conference the participants adopted the declaration “Toward a stronger, more cohesive, inclusive and relevant European Union on the global stage”. The declaration states that the European Union has brought lasting peace and welfare for its member states throughout decades and freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are its fundamental values. In spite of its achievements, the European Union is now facing new challenges – increasing discrepancies within and between member states, structural limitations, economic and social changes generated by the fourth industrial revolution, climate change, migration, the rise of competing new global powers and attempts to weaken the influence of the United Nations in defending peace and preventing global conflicts.
The enlargement policy is one of the most successful common policies of the European Union and the Union should maintain its commitment to support the countries willing to join it in consolidating their institutions and the economic and social development, as well as boost cooperation with the countries in the neighbourhood on the fields of migration and security to create a safer society for all of us. A credible accession perspective remains an essential factor in promoting the process of reconciliation and stability on the continent.
Finally, they concluded that redefining the EU as a common project for a sustainable future requires determination, political will, inclusion and trust. The genuine power of the EU stands in its transformative capacity, both internally and at the global stage. To this end, we express our full will to participate, through a joint effort, in defining and advancing a new ambitious and inclusive EU agenda, to the benefit of the European project and of the unity, prosperity and security of its member states, as condition for a new social contract with European citizens.