EPP Summit /Manfred Weber: We must have the same living standard all over Europe

The EPP (European People's Party) candidate for the presidency of the European Commission, Manfred Weber, on Saturday said, in his presentation of his vision for the future of the EU and the main guidelines of the European People's Party programme for the EC president, that he will fight for the same living standard in all Europe. "I am 46 years old and I grew up in Bavaria. My generation can say that in Europe, everywhere, we have freedom and peace ... This is possible because the leaders from the EPP family have succeeded in ensuring this. I fight against all those who want to destroy Europe as it is today, against nationalists, populists. (...) This Europe has been built by us, we are proud of it and we will continue to defend it in the future. We live in the best Europe ever, (...) but there are still things that need to be solved. The first message of the EPP Manifesto is that I dream of a better Europe. As president of the European Commission, I want to fight for a Europe in which no one will be forced to leave the region where they live for financial reasons. We must fight for a Europe in which everyone enjoys the same living standard," Manfred Weber said at the EPP Summit of local and regional leaders, held on Saturday in Bucharest. He said that, as the President of the European Commission, he will be in favor of regional development policies and infrastructure development. "3.5 millions Romanians have left Romania in the last years. One third of the young generation has left this country and this is unacceptable. So we need to have the same living standard (...) To give young people a better future, especially in the rural areas. We must be open for trade, as Europeans. For 1.1 million Romanians work in sectors where products are produced for export to third countries and not to the EU. This is too much. We can only have a good economic future if we believe in our trade policies. This is the problem. The Socialists, the Greens, the left are skeptical about the future trade agreements ... The Socialists are opposing them, they want to do the same thing as Donald Trump. They want to block trade, stop it, build walls. On the economic side, I want to create bridges, because this is the only way to achieve good economic development and a sustainable trade policy," said Weber. The EPP candidate pointed out that "there is no contradiction between local and national pride and the pride of being European, because the three identities go hand in hand." "I will not allow any nationalist or populist person to say that these three values are contradictory. They are together," underscored Manfred Weber. He said that, at European level, in politics "you have to start listening to people's concerns." "It all starts by listening to people, and I cannot imagine a better place to discuss this issue than the Committee of the Regions, and I respect the mayors with their daily work (...) they are closer to the people, so listening to mayors is an essential thing," said the EPP candidate for the European Commission's presidency. Manfred Weber also said he wanted to present a master plan to fight cancer. "If Europeans find a response to cancer, then this world will become a better place," he said. Referring to migration, Weber said the European Union could control its external borders and said EPP wants the EU "to regain control of its borders." "Europe is a strong continent from an economic point of view. (...) But we are not strong enough at the political level. We are economically strong, but we are still politically weak. So we need to find a way. (...) We have to respond to China's challenge, to what Vladimir Putin does, we need to see how we react to what Trump does, (...) Turkey. We need to be able to speak globally in one voice, " Weber said. Stressing that "diversity in Europe is very great," Manfred Weber highlighted the common Christian values of Europeans. "We have one thing in common in Europe: there is a Christian church in every village, and this is why I believe that this continent is based on Christian principles and we should be proud of this, that we have these common values," said Weber. Another point he approached touched upon the EU-Turkey relationship. "We cannot say that Turkey has shown a commitment to implementing the rule of law and the principles and values we all believe in. That is why Turkey is moving away from Europe. The best thing we can do in this relationship is to have a honest approach. We should say we want to have a strong friendship relationship, but Turkey becoming full member of the EU will not work. I promise that I will stop talking about this, because we have to define the EU's borders in the end," the EPP candidate to EC presidency said. Among the points of the EPP Regional and Local Manifesto for the 2019 European Parliament elections, entitled "We want a European Union together with people and for the people" presented on Saturday, in Bucharest, by Manfred Weber, there is also the need to make decisions based on the principle of subsidiarity, more environmentally-friendly transport and more energy-efficient housing. AGERPRES (RO - author: Livia Popescu, editor: Andreea Rotaru; EN - author/editor: Cristina Zaharia)

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