Politics & Economics

“The Europe I Want”

May 2024
By Lidia Pereira*

To be European is to share in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and values that bind us together. As Europeans, we belong to this place, part of its legacy, its civilization, and its story. We strive for prosperity through unity, embodying the spirit of reconciliation that has paved our way forward to freedom, peace, and mutual progress. Our continent has become a beacon, a place where we draw closer together as states, nations, and peoples.

Europe is a project where differences do not divide but enrich us. We believe in a Europe where the expression of different beliefs and convictions is not just accepted but celebrated, upheld by democracy and the rule of law. Peace and coexistence are the driving forces of a vision where diversity is a valuable asset that distinguishes and strengthens the Union. Our shared endeavor ensures that diversity is not just a slogan but a reality that enriches us all.

However, peace is not a gift that can be taken for granted. European history is marked by the scars of war and conflict. Recent events to the east, culminating in the war in Ukraine, remind us of the fragility of peace. Our political leaders must place security and defense at the forefront of their priorities to protect our borders and uphold democratic values.

I stand unequivocally with Ukraine, condemning the illegal invasion and rejecting false pacifism that would leave Europe vulnerable to external threats. In a world where transnational challenges grow more complex, a robust European security and defense policy is crucial. Cooperation among member states must be closer and more coordinated to safeguard the security of all Europeans and the Union’s external borders.

As we navigate a new era in European politics, we remain committed to a stronger, more unified, and resilient European Union. The story of European integration is a tale of overcoming challenges through democracy, the rule of law, freedom, and knowledge. These values underpin a stable political environment, a sustainable economy, and an investment in research and knowledge.

Europe must support small and medium-sized businesses that form the backbone of our economy and are the greatest job creators. A new economic vision based on circularity, sustainability, and environmental protection can align with entrepreneurship and profit. We must balance the European Green Deal with respect for autonomy and initiative, ensuring Europe is a global exemplar of innovation and competitiveness.

We must reject agendas that oppose investment, growth, and science. Europe must lead in combating climate change through this new economic development model. The European social market economy ensures no one is left behind as we progress together. I want a Europe that cares about the elderly and the most fragile, making our continent the best place in the world to live.

This is the time to confront the challenges of today and tomorrow. From war to migration, environmental issues to prosperity, artificial intelligence to ethics, food security to territorial cohesion, and fighting corruption and terrorism. We must defend our European way of life, uphold intergenerational solidarity, and ensure security for all.

Let’s make Europe stronger and more united. I will vote for a stronger European Union that will lead globally and ensure Europe remains a shining example of prosperity and cooperation. This is the Europe I want.

*Member of the European Parliament, Portugal