"The New Year is an opportunity to start afresh, finding once again the security and peace we had learnt to take for granted," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said while wishing EU nationals a Happy new year.
He described 2015 as a difficult year for many parts of Europe. "It is one from which I hope that we, and especially our leaders, are able to learn from and put that learning to good use in 2016".
A number of EU MEPs also included their hopes for 2016 in their New Year's posts. Antonio Tajani (Italy, EPP) said described 2015 as a year which challenged the values that underpin our society: "freedom, tolerance, the respect for fundamental rights. This challenge has strengthened us in our convictions, our identity, our awareness of our history. I hope that in 2016, this challenge will be met not only by us, but also by all those in the world that are at risk, persecuted for their beliefs, their ideas and their respect for freedom".
Rainer Wieland (Germany, EPP) said; "European values oblige us not only to provide protection to war refugees and the politically persecuted, but also to firmly oppose firmly the perpetrators of violence who act under the cloak of their religion and to defend our approach to an open society. Together with all citizens we want to advocate freedom in Europe and the world".
European know the challenges we face
Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (Hungary, EPP) explained that Europeans know that the challenges of our generation transcend national borders and that the major decisions shaping their lives are made at the EU level.
Sylvie Guillaume (France, S&D) quoted Dr Mukwege when he accepted the Sakharov Prize in Strasbourgo n 26 November 2014. "Our country is sick, but together with our friends from across the world, we can and will cure it," he had said. "This is also what I wish for Europe for this new year. It is by rediscovering our values, based on solidarity between states and people, equality and liberty, that we will breathe new life into this fabulous project," the S&D MEP said.
Ioan Mircea Pașcu (Romania, S&D) hopes the new year will bring peace, solidarity and understanding and will strengthen our Union both at home and in the world.