Friday

19th Jan 2018

EU Parliament chief calls for 'good budget'

  • Tajani: "We need more tourists, and an industrial policy." (Photo: European Parliament)

Addressing youth unemployment, illegal migration and terrorism is the way to remobilise EU citizens ahead of the 2019 European elections, the European Parliament president has said.

"If we are able to achieve these three goals, we'll have more citizens voting for pro-European parties," Antonio Tajani said at an event in Brussels on Wednesday (6 September).

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"It's impossible to achieve these goals without the European Union," he added, calling for "more politicians, more political decisions" at EU level.

"Without political decisions, it's impossible to work very well," he said. "Citizens want more political European decisions."

Tajani - who was speaking at an event organised by the EPC, a think tank - was kicking off his political season a week before European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his State of the Union speech in the parliament on 13 September.

As discussions have started about next year's EU budget, he called for a "good budget and a good political strategy" in order to tackle the three main issues he identified.

He said that the EU needs a strategy for Africa to fight illegal migration, and called for a €40-billion Marshall Plan for the continent.

To reduce unemployment, especially for young people, he said that the EU needs to "strengthen the real economy".

"We need more tourists, and an industrial policy," he said, while also calling for an "industrial revolution" in the green sector.

He also said that the EU needs to conclude trade agreements and reinforce its anti-dumping defence.

Tajani, who became EU parliament president in January, expressed support for the so-called Spitzenkandidat process, whereby the main political parties choose a candidate to lead the European elections campaign, with the chance of winning the EU commission presidency.

But asked by EUobserver after the event if he would run again as parliament president or as Spitzenkandidat for his centre-right EPP party, he said it was "too early" to decide and that he would defend the parliament "as a candidate to the parliament".

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