Europe must develop a vision to inspire its citizens, otherwise it will be driven to an existential crisis and a deadlock, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday after a meeting of the EU’s 27 leaders in Bratislava.
“If we do not embrace the notion of solidarity we will not escape from the crisis,” Tsipras said. “Citizens are not inspired by Europe because their lives have worsened. The stability and growth pact must also help growth,” he added.
“We must therefore discuss again about the European social acquis, expand social protection and to stop believing that rules [of the stability and growth pact] are Moses’ 10 commandments,” he said.
Commenting on the issues discussed at the summit, he said that differences remain on the measures that have to be taken, but a small step was taken towards establishing a social agenda and this is the direction the EU must take.
Asked if he’s pessimistic after the meeting, he said: “No, I don’t leave more pessimistic, I leave cautiously optimistic that something can be changed.
Slovakia Won’t Take Refugees From Greece, Bulgaria Gets 108 Mln Euros to Fortify Borders
German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not mince words at the end of the EU leaders summit in Bratislava, Slovakia. She admitted that the European Union was in a “critical situation” after the Brexit vote as leaders looked at ways to rebuild unity. “We need solutions for Europe and we are in a critical situation,” she said. “I hope that Bratislava stands for the fact that we want to work together, and we want the problems that there are in Europe to be solved.”
The countries showed division regarding stemming the flow of refugees. Slovakia was vocal in its objection to the EU quota system that distributes 160,000 refugees across the bloc in order to ease the burden on Italy and Greece. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has said the country will not accept “one single Muslim migrant.”
Amid heated debate, the European Commission decided to give Bulgaria 108 million euros in emergency funding to protect its borders against the increased flow from Turkey and Greece. Bulgaria says that there has been a rise in the flow since June. On the sidelines of the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters that the serious problem that Bulgaria is facing has to be seen not as a major problem for Bulgaria but for the EU.
European Council President Donald Tusk asked leaders to reassure citizens that the EU has learnt from the Brexit. He asked for a “sober and brutally honest” look at the bloc’s problems.
French President Francois Hollande referred to a “Bratislava roadmap” to answer three critical complaints about the EU: “Protection, which is to say security; the preparation of the future, which means being able to be a great power on the global scale in terms of the economy and creating employment; and lastly to give hope to youth.”
EU countries have shown deep divide over how to strengthen growth and respond to influx of migrants.
(With information from ana-mpa)