Swedish PM: Weakened principles, means weakened voice

In a discussion with MEPs on Wednesday Stefan Lofven oulined what the future of the EU should look like

Photo: EPA Swedish PM Stefan Lofven attends a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven debated the future of Europe with MEPs and Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, on Wednesday. In his adress to MEPs the PM touched on topics such as political values, migration policies, EU's long-term budget, climate change targets and the Brexit crisis.

Regarding politics, Lofven stressed that the EU must step up to defend its fundamental values to create hope for the future, and that the most strategic way to fight the forces that challenge those values is to deliver on employment, security, migration and climate change. To achieve that, Lofven continued, the EU must stand up for common, principle-based solutions, and a world order where might does not come before right. But the PM streesed that the EU can only be a strong voice for democracy in the world if all 28 Member States stand up for this principle at home.

“For every democratic principle that is weakened in the EU, the EU’s voice in the world is equally weakened. We can only be a force for free media and the rule of law in our neighbourhood if we have free media and independent courts in our union,” he commented.

“The EU must never again lose control in the way it did during the refugee crisis. The free movement of people requires shared external borders, and a shared responsibility for orderly and regulated migration built on three pillars: strong cooperation with countries outside the EU, the control of all external borders and a fair distribution of those who arrive and whose grounds for asylum are to be examined”,  Lofven stressed, speaking about the migration across the bloc.

On Brexit, the Swedish PM said: “I believe it is crucial for all of us in the current Brexit negotiations that the UK and the EU can move on as friends - and create a close, strong and long-term relationship. But the only way for the EU to avoid similar exit ordeals in the future is to constantly prove its worth to people’s everyday lives - and to their dreams for the future”.

Finally, on climate change, the Swedish PM inisted that the EU must implement the Paris Agreement "without any “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”, to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

"The EU needs to adopt a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest. It is also a great opportunity for European industry, as the whole world is crying out for new solutions,” he concluded.

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