In anticipation to the European Parliament debate on the State of the European Union (SOTEU) with Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, on Wednesday, September 16 at 9.00, the European Parliament Liaison Office in Malta, the European Commission Representation in Malta and MEUSAC organised a debate, ‘Imagine Europe’ to discuss the following themes: How young people envisage a future EU; Analysis and challenges of a future EU; What Europe do EU citizens want?
The SOTEU is considered as the most important EU public discussion of the year, in which the Commission lays out its working plan and priorities for the year ahead and MEPs debate these, giving opinions and direction at an early stage of upcoming EU action.
The discussion was introduced by the Head of the European Parliament Office Mario Sammut, the Head of the Commission Representation Elena Grech, and the Head of MEUSAC Mandy Falzon.
In her intervention, Head of MEUSAC, Mandy Falzon shared her thoughts on the lessons that can be learnt by all in this very particular year for the EU and for the world.
“If there is something which I learnt from the past months is the need to constantly adapt and respond to the challenges before us and I do hope that the EU can live up to these expectations.
With this I would like to share my first thought on the matter and my belief that unless people do not feel a sense of belonging to something they can never be fully committed and engaged in whatever they do or be interested in.
I believe this principle applies equally to the EU. Unless citizens do not feel that their voices are being heard, that their concerns are being addressed and that, yes, being part of Union does bring with it added benefits, we can never expect citizens to believe or be committed to the European project.
Based on this sense of belonging I would like to share with you my second thought in that we need to go beyond listening to what people have to say but it should be about making the EU first and foremost more accessible to all. We cannot pretend to be doing our job well if we disregard or ignore the issues and matters that are having an impact on citizens daily lives.”
MEPs Miriam Dalli and Josianne Cutajar (S&D) discussed with young people how they envisage a future European Union on the first panel. The National Youth Council’s Nigel Caruana, JEF Malta’s Chantelle Sammut, and the European Studies Organisation’s Bernice Theresa Bonello joined the debate.
The second part of the discussion analysed the challenges the EU is about to face with MEP Dragoș Pîslaru (Renew, RO), EP Co-Rapporteur on the Recovery and Resilience Facility, together with Professor Roderick Pace and Dr Mark Harwood of the Institute for European Studies.
To round-up, the kind of Europe the citizens want was discussed by the third panel with MEP Roberta Metsola (EPP), SOS Malta’s Claudia Taylor East, and Malta Together founder Mark Weingard.