Members of the European Parliament,
I would like to thank the Euopean Parliament for granting me the privilege of addressing this Assembly, which represents the peoples of the Union.
I take the floor in a particularly dramatic moment for us all. Europe has been wounded: Brussels, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Paris, are painful and indelible wounds on the body of our Union.
We are still shocked by what has happened in Paris and we are trying - all of us together - to face the pain that has struck the families of the victims, the physical and moral suffering of the wounded, the sense of anguish and insecurity of our communities.
I would like to once more strongly reiterate our total and unconditional solidarity with France, its Institutions, its people, particularly the families affected by this terrible tragedy.
Yesterday, in Venice, we said goodbye to Valeria Solesin, a young Italian woman, a young European woman, whose young life was cruelly cut short along with that of 129 others. I would like Valeria Solesin to be remembered on this international day for the elimination of violence against women.
In Paris our everyday life, our notion of being together, our customs were struck: that way of being, thinking and living that belongs to and characterises the Union's citizens.
This year we marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and, last year, the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. From the terrible sufferings of these two tragedies, the idea of a Europe that knew how to unite rather than fight itself was born, grew and took root.
The European Union is the result of that long and vital process, still ongoing, and it is progressive integration that allowed our European citizens to experience a period of peace and social development that is unique in the history of our Continent. A history that has led to rights and increasing protection for all.
The Europe that you represent was born from solidarity. From former enemies who were able to unite in the name of shared values. From countries who were former adversaries in the Cold War who were able to give life, in recent years, to the largest area of democracy and freedom that has ever existed; contributing, in a determining way, to stability and peace.
All this, however, is not enough any more. We are all today strongly called upon to step up our responsibility, initiative, cohesion. Only in this way will we be able to defeat the arrogant challenges that terrorism brings inside our homes, after having bathed in blood Middle Eastern, Asian and African territories, still seriously affected, as last week in Bamako and yesterday in Tunis.
The conflicts of the bipolar era contributed to encouraging European countries to stay united. Today, from the East and from the South, new strong instabilities have emerged at our borders. It is more necessary than ever to promote - together - intelligent neighbourhood policies to share strategies with which to build peace, isolating every form of extremism.
The European Union represents, in the international context and the collective imagination, a point of reference for every person, population and State that bases its existence on peace among nations, freedom and respect for citizens' rights. A political bulwark against obscurantism. For this we are being attacked head-on, as also happened to the United States of America.
I speak before a parliamentary assembly that represents the European people and, at the same time, guards the plurality of identity that enriches our being European: the battle, that sees us involved not for short periods of time, demands unity. Unity and determination, to defeat, together, all violence and guarantee full security to our citizens; preserving the inalienable defence of freedom and rights.
The European institutions' architecture is based on values of democracy, tolerance, and acceptance. When facing the strong migratory pressures that come from countries where terrorism is born, and in the light of the dramatic events in Paris, we wonder if today it is not appropriate to question some of these principles, starting from the freedom of movement of persons. From which comes the recurring temptation to "close borders". Both external, barring the way to those fleeing from areas of war or hunger. And internal, stifling one of the many, hard-earned, great freedoms that we gave our citizens the right to.
I believe that we must address these challenges in the light of the values for which we declare to fight.
Seemingly simple answers do not help us, neither in abstract terms nor in terms of appropriate and effective solutions. Not in the abstract, because they lead us to renounce fundamental principles to our being European, rights that we have built up and that we have the duty to protect, for us and for future generations. Simplification is not convincing in terms of lasting solutions either, because the phenomena we are facing are global in nature and no country, alone, is able to tackle them, however strong it may be; however proud it may be, as all are, of its own history.
During the Second World War, democracies, starting from the United Kingdom, did not ask how to save themselves in solitude, but rather knew to call upon the greatest international mobilisation of consciousness. Today it is the European Union's turn to hold fast the helm of civilisation and humanism.
It is through an effective increase in collaboration among Member States - from security apparatus to intelligence activities - that we will succeed, together, in defeating terrorism, making our citizens safer and protecting our way of life.
It is only by working more together - and not less - that we will be up to this challenge, also in terms of common foreign and defence policy.
We must not forget that sixty years of progressive integration, with due regard for differences, specificities and traditions, have created a European "demos": an increasing fusion of our societies that has produced tangible and visible results in terms of rights, safeguards, awareness, ways of living one's life, from one end of the Union to the other, from Lapland to Cyprus, from the Danube delta to the Algarve.
A single European space of freedom, that we cannot lose but that, rather, we must know how to extend, while protecting security.
The Union has produced European law - presided over by the Court of Justice - that is part of our citizens' daily life in many sectors: a shared heritage that they could not do without. And you, lawmakers in this Parliament, know this better than anyone else.
The voice of European citizens, that has made itself heard loud and clear recently to ask for barbarity to be fought, has borne witness to the pressing demand for European unity.
Members of the European Parliament,
We find ourselves before an apparent paradox: on the one hand, we have witnessed the progressive emergence of this new European "demos"; on the other, the Union and its Member States are showing weariness and growing difficulties in facing and resolving, together, the crises that have afflicted them. This was the case for the international financial crisis that did not leave State sovereign debts unscathed; it was the case for the marked crisis that affected the economies of many States in the Union, with serious repercussions in terms of social cohesion.
In recent years, the need to be able to look far ahead has not always been able to guide us, and if we can learn a lesson from this, it is that global problems need global solutions.
We must move from the emergency logic that has characterised our approach to the crises of the past years to a long-term vision that allows the Union to develop policies able to stimulate growth, create employment, durably reduce inequality. This is the road to guarantee our citizens prospects of economic and social progress, and to ensure Europe has a leading role in the world that is taking shape.
This is the case for Monetary Union, for example. The Report of the five Presidents outlines a path on which, I hope, suitable political and methodological convergences can soon be achieved - because time is short - defining the essential role of the European Parliament in guraranteeing their democratic basis.
Institutions - and European institutions are no exception - are strengthened if they are able to renew themselves, if they are able to understand what can be improved without giving in to destructive or paralysing tendencies. For example, when it comes to the completion of the single market and a more effective application of the principle of subsidiarity between the Union and Member States.
We must be able to make choices of greater unity, in all the areas we are involved in.
Free movement of persons, placed - as I mentioned - under pressure both by the migration phenomenon and by the threat of terrorism, has as its logical corollary the strengthened collaboration among Member States to safeguard and manage our shared external borders and, at a later stage, the creation of shared Institutions able to oversee migration flow.
Only someone who does not want to see can pretend to not know where the painful trail of people that traverses Africa and the Middle East towards Europe comes from.
They repeat the tragedy of Jews fleeing from Nazism; of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war roaming Europe after the Second World War, searching for homes that had been destroyed, of the refugees whose homes and communities had suddenly become part of another country. They are the heirs of those who, risking their lives, crossed the Berlin Wall; of the citizens who, confronting minefields, tried to transit from Hungary into Austria.
The world is moving, on the legs of millions of men, women and children, often victims of cruel human traffickers: it is a defenceless army, marching in search for its own salvation. How can we oppose their reasons?
It is not they, who flee from violence and death, who are our enemy!
They head towards Europe, seen not only as a place of well-being but even more as a space of freedom, the protection of rights, of peace. We must defend the security of Europe, but we cannot deface it to make it less attractive.
It is necessary, rather, that Europe in its entirety updates its own rules to confront a phenomenon that is different, in nature and scope, compared to the time in which rules on asylum were written. The Dublin agreements capture a reality and a past that no longer exist. For this reason they have been overtaken: overtaken by the uncompromising judge that is reality.
There is a need to define new rules imbued with principles of humanity and security, solidarity and responsibility, appropriate to the new reality we have before us.
The definitive choice - not only in terms of migration - is between a Union that tackles phenomena trying to regulate them and a Europe that is subjected to events without being able to govern them, with the resulting increase in internal imbalances and loss of confidence among Member States.
Our values will assert their own authenticity and will consolidate their own authority if they are able to earn recognition and admiration also for the aid and support granted to those in difficulty.
This message would contribute to weakening the propaganda of hate and death spread by fundamentalist terrorism in many countries, from the Middle East to Africa and also - as we are reminded by the sad events of the past few days - in the cities of Europe.
In the meeting that took place weeks ago between the European Union and African countries in La Valletta, and in the diplomatic work underway with Turkey, some important initial steps were taken. We defined clear strategies and made clear commitments.
Now we need to honour the offers of aid made to countries along the route of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean and follow up on the commitments made with African countries on development cooperation and mobility. It is right to help them and this seems, moreover, the only road in order to be perceived as credible partners and to be able to ask for greater collaboration on repatriation. To avoid, furthermore, that migration flow becomes even greater and completely unstoppable in the near future. And also to avoid terrorism from finding further fertile ground in other countries experiencing difficulties.
The need for greater, and better, Europe, is making itself felt, with particular intensity, in this troubled time, also in terms of foreign policy.
A process of increasing regionalisation is underway in the world. Increasingly apparent - and structured - macro-areas will be called upon to take on responsibility in managing planetary balances.
It is a phenomenon that is born and develops looking with appreciation - often with admiration - to our experience, to the model achieved by the European Union.
The world needs Europe, and it needs a united Europe. A Europe that knows how to fulfil its organic design, and I think here of the area of the Western Balkans.
The Union can foster the necessary international convergences for Syria, Iraq, and Libya, looking for shared choices that can effectively combat the forces of disorder and terror. Yesterday's tragic events confirm the urgency of such an approach.
Members of the European Parliament,
Citizens, with their vote of May 2014, manifested the inescapable need for a change of pace on behalf of the Union's Institutions, in order to overcome all delays in indicating the horizon of values contained in the Treaties and the Charter of fundamental rights of the Union.
I look to this Assembly with great respect and trust. The European Parliament has always had a driving role and Italy is among the supporters of this Institution, convinced as it is of its essential function in the process of progressive deepening of the European Union's political cohesion and the consolidation of its democratic base.
If the world turns to the example offered by the European Union, to achieve elsewhere similar forms of increasingly peaceful collaboration, the project of European construction cannot stop halfway.
We cannot look backwards, if not to observe the diffidence, rivalry, and tension that we left behind and that devastated us in the previous century.
Planning the future, starting from the difficulties and challenges we are experiencing, is the road to well-governing the present, with its serious problems.
I would like to hark back, once more, to the words of Jean Monnet: ''We cannot stop when around us the whole world is moving".
In keeping with this plea, I wish you all well in your work in the service of Europe and peace.