Need for active citizen engagement emphasized at EU Speakers Conference ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Opening session of the EU Speakers Conference.
Opening session of the EU Speakers Conference. Source: (Riigikogu/Flickr)

At the two-day Conference of Speakers of the EU Parliaments held in Tallinn, speakers of the parliaments of the EU emphasized member states' unity, the role of national parliaments and the need for the more active engagement of citizens in shaping the future of the union.

President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor believed that both big and small countries can grow, develop and innovate only in a strong and stable international environment, according to a Riigikogu press release.

"The EU is not just an impersonal organization with a mandate to deal with a certain set of issues; it is a part of who we are as Europeans, which is why it is critical that we do everything we can to bring the union closer to its citizens," Nestor said. "The national parliaments have a special role and ability in connecting with their societies."

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said that the future of Europe is shaped by policies and politicians. "Our citizens are calling for a Union which is more effective, more political and more democratic, which addresses their main concerns: security, immigration, employment," Tajani emphasized in his speech, and called on politicians to have closer cooperation with the citizens. Tajani considered it important that as many people as possible cast their votes at elections, and in his opinion, it is the responsibility of the politicians to ensure this.

On the subject of the economy of the European Union, Tajani said that the European Union market was large, but the member states could be strong only if they cooperated. "We are more than a political union; we are a community of values," Tajani said.

Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland Marek Kuchciński spoke of the need to increase the role of national parliaments as the connecting link between the citizens and the international representatives at the European Union level. "If we want the future of the European Union to be successful, it is necessary to restore the trust of the citizens," Kuchciński said.

In their speeches, Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Andrej Danko and President of the French National Assembly François de Rugy highlighted the common challenges of the EU – security, defence of external borders, combating illegal migration and enhancing the dialogue between the countries.

Delegations from Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland likewise participated in the conference.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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