That is why, if we want to move forward again, I’d like us to hold democratic conventions that will be an integral part of Europe’s radical reform. Once we’ve defined the simple terms of a road map shared by the main governments ready to move in that direction. I’d like us to be able — for six months next year, in all the countries that so wish — to organize a huge debate on the same issues and identify the priorities, concerns and ideas that will fuel our road map for tomorrow’s Europe. Restore proper order to things instead of asking at the last minute — gripped by fantasies and incomprehension — whether “yes” or “no” to an opaque text written in secret; we should organize an open, free, transparent European debate in order to build this project that will finally give content and purpose to our European elections in 2019.
And let me be clear: anyone who is afraid of this has grown too used to the idea that intelligent plans are drawn up in a complex, opaque way; that’s not true. Anyone who has fallen into the trap of the Europe haters should go and ask some of the farmers who are suffering today. They may tell you: “I don’t want anything more to do with Europe.” That’s the bread-and-butter of the Front National in France! But when you start getting into a discussion: “OK, so what do you want? What will best protect you?”, they sometimes want another Europe! But they themselves will come round to the idea that Europe would protect them better than an absurd national policy.
It’s this robust debate that will also enable us to rediscover the thread and the stringency of many of our common policies! Let’s not be afraid of that debate. But above all, let’s not be afraid of having a European debate for the 2019 elections! And I can already hear all those fainthearted people who have got used to the idea that European elections are merely an aggregate of national debates, little routines where we place our pawns, where we never talk about Europe but instead about all our attitudes. Let’s give the European elections a project to feed on and see who is for and who is against! And let’s have a democratic debate about it.
Also in order to finish building this democratic area, I’m arguing for transnational lists for 2019 that will enable Europeans to vote for a coherent, common project. How? And here I acknowledge that this idea originated with a few of the people in this hall… The British have decided to leave us, freeing up 73 seats in the European Parliament. We have a simple choice. Sharing out the spoils, in a delicate and dignified manner and deciding that Europe — for lack of a common spirit — is a syndic of co-owners: using a carefully-considered distribution key, we’d share out the vacated MEPs’ seats. Or we decide that those 73 MEPs must be Europe’s response to Brexit. And there will be a transnational list where people vote for the same MEPs throughout Europe. I dare you!