23 May, 2024

Gozi: A more democratic and powerful EU is possible

On 23 May, Sandro Gozi pushed Renew Europe Now’s vision for a more democratic, safe and competitive Europe at the 2024 Eurovision Debate in Brussels.

The debate, hosted by the European Broadcasting Union in the European Parliament hemicycle, was the final debate in the lead-up to the European elections due to take place across all EU Member States on 6-9 June.

Facing lead candidates from other European political families, Gozi stressed the need to reform the European Union’s treaties to prepare it for enlargement, climate action and increased democratic representation.

“A more democratic and powerful Europe is possible. Today, we are confronted with challenges of the same scale of our founding fathers and sisters, and we must show the same sense of urgency. Let’s not miss the opportunity: this is our time to fight for a Europe that multiplies opportunity, for a Europe of concrete solutions,” said Gozi.

Read below for the main highlights from the debate.

EU expansion tied to economic reform

Participants were quizzed on six main topics, starting with economy and jobs, where Gozi linked the EU’s economic development to its own enlargement and integration.

“We created the European project for all people in this continent, but it is impossible to enlarge without reforming our treaties and budget. We have to increase the budget for our cohesion and common agricultural policies, and rethink Europe’s software to be able to unify the continent,” he said.

More EU defence spending and cultural investment

Defence and security is among the most important topics for Europeans in these upcoming elections. Gozi echoed the need for more harmonisation and spending in the EU defence industry, but highlighted how culture also plays a key role.

“Putin will not stop in Kiev, and this is why we must win in Ukraine. We call for a €100bn plan to boost our defence and develop a real European defence industry. But there is no real security without more cultural education: for every euro you spend on defence you must add one euro for culture, education and knowledge,” said Gozi.

Green innovation and consumer protection

Gozi argued that greater engagement with civil society is the key to building a more inclusive and sustainable future, and pointed out various legislative proposals that can put green policies and consumer rights on an equal footing.

“We have chosen a green and competitive Europe, embracing innovation and technological neutrality. We should create more dialogue with youth, citizens and farmers to make the single market more sustainable, simplify renewable energy projects, ensure the right to repair and ban greenwashing claims. This would be a win-win for our consumers and our planet,” he said.

Reform treaties to increase democratic participation

On the topic of democracy and leadership, Gozi once again highlighted the need to build a real European political space by having transnational lists at European elections as one of the main goals of a potential revision of the European Union’s founding treaties.

“It’s time for a deep and bold reform. We need to revise our treaties to make them more effective in protecting our rule of law, and reassure all citizens that we will stand with them if governments violate fundamental rights and the rule of law. That is the best answer to the extreme right,” he said.

Human migration policies and border control

Gozi said facilitating legal pathways for labour migration within and across the EU should be one of the key priorities for the future European Commission.

“The division between Europeans turned the Mediterranean into a cemetery. We need to open up a new chapter by working on a legal migration pathway, on economic migration, to have a European economic quota to satisfy our needs, and better cooperate with countries of origin so Europe can take back control of migration in a human way,” he said.

You can rewatch the Eurovision Debate below.

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