And to all the major European parties which explained to us that it would be tremendous to have a “Spitzen-kandidat”, a lead candidate, for the European Commission, making the elections more European, I say: “Take that reasoning to its conclusion! Don’t be afraid! Have genuine European elections! Don’t make finely-weighed calculations for your erstwhile interests! Let’s do it!” But then you will all see, at European level, what appeared clearly in France in May: namely that what sometimes keeps you in common parties no longer exists, because your relationship with Europe is no longer the same, within the same major parties, and you no longer believe in the same things.
I will not leave those major European parties a monopoly on the debate about Europe and the European elections! Because citizens must overhaul it, via the grassroots, from the bottom up, on the basis of truth. And at the following elections, I hope the real step forward will be half of the European Parliament being elected on these transnational lists.
France has often seen the European Parliament as the second division of national politics, and I say it here to several French members of parliament and MEPs. That’s a serious mistake. If we want to build a sovereign Europe, pool our competencies in order to be stronger, make our trade policy more transparent and control the budget we need for the eurozone, this Parliament of Europeans must be the crucible for our shared project.
This ambition must be our political project, with a goal — 2024 —, while maintaining, together, the urgent need for action and a sense of the long term.
In 2019, Europeans will elect their MEPs. That will be the time of Brexit. If we start overhauling Europe now, it will also be a time of regained trust in our future, with a clear mandate: our MEPs must act to transform Europe. And five years later, they will leave 500 million Europeans with a new Europe.
A few weeks after the European elections, Paris will host the Olympic Games. But it’s not just Paris that is hosting. It’s France and, with it, Europe that will keep alive the Olympic spirit born on this continent. It will be a unique time of coming together, a magnificent opportunity to celebrate European unity. In 2024, the Ode to Joy will ring out, and the European flag can proudly be flown alongside our national emblems.
That is why this debate, this ambition must be promoted now. This is the right time. Let it be built for the European elections of 2019. This is the right time! And this term from 2019 to 2024 is that of Europe’s transformation. Those who tell you we must wait have been saying we must wait for years or decades. Procrastination is the cousin of that lethargy I was talking about earlier. They want to miss another opportunity! We have been shaken up! There are threats! Boldness is our only answer. Renewed ambition is the only way of responding. Let’s not be afraid, let’s move forward.