Europeans have to take fate in hand: EC president
18 Jan 2020, 01:13
It is essential for the European Union to be more active on the international level, not to let others decide its destiny, said European Council President Charles Michel here Friday.
"In recent years, we have been confronted with a European Union which very often has had to endure crises: financial crisis, budgetary crisis, migration crisis, Brexit," said Michel after a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the Federal Chancellery.
"I am absolutely convinced that this new institutional cycle -- a new European Commission, a new European Parliament, a new European Council -- would be the starting point for a more positive agenda for the European Union: an agenda in which we European leaders decide to take more control of our destiny, to see what are the priorities for which decisions must be taken in the interest of the European peoples and with respect to different sensitivities within different European countries," he said.
It is a common ambition that European leaders must carry to ensure that the EU exerts on the international level a political and diplomatic influence more in relation to its economic and political weight, he added.
"We respect the choice made by the British voters in the referendum, although we regret it", said Michel. "We are entering the second phase of negotiation. It is very important to keep this unity between the 27 European countries, with the hope of keeping a close relationship with Great Britain in different fields: economic, commercial, security and geopolitical."
Michel welcomed the Austrian government's clear stance on the future of Europe. However, he did not want to comment on the question of a new treaty for Europe for which the Austrian government is advocating.
Kurz identified the focus of his meeting with Michel as European business location and competitiveness, good external border protection and the fight against illegal migration and climate change.
Kurz congratulated his guest on the new role and thanked the Europe Council chief in particular for "wanting to give the EU more weight in the world".