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In the European elections we must vote for individuals rather than for parties

04 November 2013 / 23:11:17  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

The elections for members of the European Parliament which will take place after 200 days will also be the first ones during which the citizens of the member states of the European Union will directly vote for the President of the European Commission.

The candidate from the Party of European Socialists will be Martin Schulz. During his one-day visit to Athens, he presented the positions of the political space for the development of the European Union and Greece.

Martin Schulz participated in a discussion on "European elections 2014 ‘Will it be different this time? Why?" organized by the "network" for reforms in Greece and Europe, the office of the European Parliament and the European Commission Representation in Greece.

One of the main topics was the division of the European Union states into North and South, the enhanced extremist right wing and Euro sceptic forces in general. "Isn’t this situation an opportunity for Europe to move towards greater unity?" asked writer and journalist Athanasios Himonas.

"My opinion is that we will not soon see the United States of Europe. Nevertheless we surely need a common policy on various issues," replied the chairman of the European parliament. In his words, the citizens of the member states of the European Union must realize that, during the Euro elections, they vote for one of the largest parliaments in the world, since it takes decisions that affect millions of people. "I agree that these elections are not so interesting for them and I think the reason is that every time we invite them to go and vote for an institution. In order to provoke their real interest, the element that exists in national and local elections, namely the vote for a programme and personality, must be present," he added.

Athens Mayor George Kaminis raised another major problem, namely that of illegal immigration, which, at least for the time being, is more pronounced in the South and Schulz acknowledged that changes are needed in European politics.

"The Dublin 2 Regulation was a political decision which is not sufficient to solve the problem of the ever-increasing immigration flows. It is necessary to find an effective way to quickly filter out those immigrants who meet the conditions for obtaining political asylum and the others who are fleeing their countries due to other extreme situations such as dire poverty. A large number of politicians from Northern Europe do not agree that our continent should become a place for receiving immigrants. However, a few decades ago, many residents of Europe immigrated to other countries. Today the conditions are different and the Europeans must realize that we have to accept immigrants in our countries. It is necessary to establish specific rules to define the conditions for legal immigration, following the example of countries like the U.S. A. and Australia," Schulz said.

The discussion raised other issues common to the member states, such as unemployment, too. Martin Schulz stressed that solidarity is an important element in the relationship between the member states, but added that each of them has to rely mainly on its own efforts in solving the problems. He recalled the reforms in Greece which are lagging behind, thus blocking the stabilization of its economy. He said that in the period before the Euro elections, the Party of European Socialists would hold a "pure European campaign" which will aim to restore the confidence of citizens in the European Union.

Tags: PoliticsEuropean ParliamentMartin SchulzEuropean CommissionImmigrationUnemployment
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