EUROPEAN UNION

Debate on the Future for Europe

Marek Albin, Prezes BTCS, tłumacz konferencyjny PL EN FR IT ES PT

18 lutego 2017 r.

The European Parliament address of Portuguese Prime Minister António COSTA was the third in the series of debates between EU Heads of Governments and MEPs on the future of the EU. As usual, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude JUNCKER took part in the debate embellishing his speech with a string of brilliant anecdotes, while EP President Antonio Tajani was playing an honest broker and master of ceremony.

Costa’s address to the parliament was the third by a EU leader in a series on the subject, after the prime ministers of Croatia and Ireland. It seems only natural that each of the Heads of Government participating in the EP-orchestrated debate focuses on specific issues and sensitivities of their respective States and Governments. This is after all the purpose of the exercise in hand: identify and discuss valuable input from all the Member States, and check how these building blocks fit into the future vision of the EU.

António Costa is a socialist leader of a Southern European economy heavily afflicted by the economic and financial crisis. It is only last week that the European Commission removed Portugal from the list of countries with serious macro-economic imbalances. The Portuguese are also strongly attached to such traditional southern social values as solidarity and concern for less fortunate members of their community. All those nuances were clearly audible in António Costa’s speech.

„In Portugal, we devised an alternative to the austerity policy, focusing on higher growth, more and better jobs, and greater equality,” he said.

As for the future vision of Europe, Costa’s key take-home message is the following:

“We cannot expect more from Europe without giving more to Europe”.

Brace for the next Future-for-Europe report. In April, it will be French President Emmanuel Macron’s turn to lay out his vision.