The Malta Independent 21 October 2016, Friday

The time has come for a strategic review of the European project – Alfred Sant

Monday, 25 January 2016, 07:55 Last update: about 10 months ago

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that the signs are showing that the time has come for a strategic review of the European project. ‘We need a strategic reflection regarding the assumptions, not the values, the models not the methods, of the European project. Among others, the reach and soft power of the Union; a new design for political coherence in Europe; immigration policies; the effects of globalisation; the mix of state and private sector; not least in the areas of job creation.’

Dr. Sant made this intervention at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the Plenary debate ‘Review of the Luxembourg Presidency’ which focused on Luxembourg's role as it occupied the rotating six month Council presidency. Dr. Sant said that the results of national elections over the past six months show that European peoples may have realized the need for this strategic review. Clearly, when you operate in firefighting mode, as Europe has been doing over the past months, there is no time to undertake strategic reviews. Yet the signs are that the time has also come for such reviews.

Dr. Sant said that in the second half of 2015, the Luxembourg Presidency and the European Commission showed great determination in trying to steer the Union outside the crisis that broke in rapid order. However, from the smoothing over of the most recent Greek crisis to the refugee crisis, everything was done in firefighting mode. Events, not the Union were in charge. Unfortunately events may have shown that the assumptions and models we follow no longer fit the realities. They refer to economic and social realities of the past, said Dr. Sant.

Participating in the debate were also Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EP President Martin Schultz. Main issues the Luxembourg presidency had to deal with were the migration crisis, the failure of EU secret services to cooperate in tackling terrorism and tax rulings.



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