"Europe stands at a crossroads. We have to choose between national egoism and making Europe a true global power. The decision is in our hands."

This was the central point made by our Chairman Manfred Weber in a debate today in Strasbourg with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, on the Future of Europe.

Focusing on the future of the EU’s foreign policy, Manfred Weber called for an ambitious approach.

“Currently, on foreign affairs issues, one single Member State can block all decisions. This decision-making process is making the EU extremely weak. The EPP Group fully supports the proposal by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to switch to majority decision-making in the Council on foreign issues. If we don’t, we will be weak; if we do, we will be strong."

Currently, on foreign affairs issues, one single Member State can block all decisions. This decision-making process is making the EU extremely weak. Manfred Weber

Manfred Weber stressed that priority should be given to the Middle East region: “can we use our humanitarian power to create peace in Syria, yes or no?“ Weber asked.

Special focus should be put on Africa: “Trade is key to boosting development there. But we should also put in place a Marshall Plan for Africa,” he said.

Replying to Prime Minister Rutte’s comments on budgetary issues, Manfred Weber called on the EU Member States to give the European Union the means that go with its ambitions.

“The key question is whether we are ready or not to finance a Europe that has a strong voice in the world. If we make new investments in the Defence Fund, if we invest more in a Marshall Plan for Africa, if we want to have stronger border controls with additional Frontex officers, then we have to finance this - the Member States should finance this,” he told the Dutch Prime Minister.

The key question is whether we are ready or not to finance a Europe that has a strong voice in the world

More generally, "with the United States closing in on itself more and more, the European Union is a model for today’s world, an alternative to Donald Trump's approach. Europe must be the beacon for peace in the world. This is a great image for the future and this is what we need to invest in.”

As part of the series of debates organised in the European Parliament with Heads of State and Government, MEPs had a discussion today in Strasbourg with the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States

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