1. The EDP welcomes the results of Italia Viva in the last elections and the creation, with Azione, of the "Renew Italy" movement. We stand alongside our Italian allies to build a real alternative to a far right now in power and to an increasingly conservative left. The European elections of 2024 will be an opportunity to increase our consensus and influence as a central and reforming force, in Italy and in Europe. Hence the importance of having a new pro-European movement like "Renew Italy" that defends our vision for a stronger, sovereign and democratic Europe.
2. Indeed, on the one hand, the European People's Party is more and more a back-up partner, used by extremists to gain power, as we can see in Rome and Stockholm; on the other hand, the left is weakening and is looking more and more to alliances with populist and extremist forces. The EDP believes, and has for many years, that by uniting against populists and Eurosceptics, the central pro-European forces will increasingly become the engine of European recovery: this is our great challenge in view of the European elections in 2024.
Recent events - the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the consequent scarcity of energy resources - have shown that the Union as such and particularly certain Member States are very ill-equipped to face the current challenges because they are too dependent on one or more unreliable or even hostile external suppliers
For the EDP, the Union and its Member States have a historic responsibility to prepare and implement strategic plans capable of progressively ensuring security of supply in the sectors that are essential to their action and future development. These sectors are: security, energy, food security/safety, health, advanced technologies, infrastructures of the future, among others.
In the current context, a plan for the security of energy supply of the EU and its Member States is a real priority. This plan should, at the very least:
Our fight for a sovereign Europe is in a worrying political situation. Without a genuine European army, Europeans will not be able to defend themselves. The threats on Europe's borders are increasing and we cannot rely solely on the United States.
European foreign and security policy must be further strengthened, both within the European Union and between the Member States. More strategy-making, more coordination - these must be our goals. Europe cannot only restore peace and promote democracy among its neighbours; it must above all become more resilient to all kinds of political crises. To achieve this, we must give new impetus to the common foreign policy. We need to create even more trust between European countries so that common decisions are not hampered by national security interests.
The EDP stresses that, in view of the continuing Russian aggression in Ukraine, food security, not only in the European Union but also in third countries, and food prices should be a major priority. The EDP welcomes the measures taken so far, such as the lifting of the embargo on Black Sea ports, the "green lanes", the derogations from cross-compliance rules and the market interventions, but stresses that further measures are needed, in particular with regard to the increase in fertilizer prices; the EDP looks forward to the European Commission's communication on fertilisers, which should form the basis of the EU fertiliser strategy, and stresses that this should also include the lifting of anti-dumping duties on fertilisers produced in third countries.
When it was founded in 2004, the EDP was already calling for a "new centrist way" in European politics. The EDP was ahead of its time, because today we continue to reject the false dichotomy between traditional parties and the extremes. Eighteen years later, the European Democrats are the central pillar, together with our liberal friends, of the new central alliance "Renew Europe".
Our group in the European Parliament has become indispensable and has been at the origin of very important advances since 2019, such as the new conditionality for the rule of law (no European funds to those who do not respect European values), the Green Pact for Europe, the Recovery Plan, the introduction of transnational lists and the Conference on the Future of Europe, the first exercise of direct citizen participation on a continental scale.
The EDP will continue to fight for a strengthened, truly transnational and sovereign European democracy. We will bring new people and new ideas into politics, from civil society to entrepreneurs, from students to farmers, and many others. We will expand our political family to promote our project for the future from Rome to Rotterdam, from Brno to Bilbao, from Ljubljana to Larnaca, from Venice to Vilnius, from Madeira to Munich, and from Strasbourg to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
And we will continue our unity in diversity, with full respect for different identities and with an increasingly territorial anchorage. Indeed, our movement, like those of our member parties, is deeply rooted at the local and regional level, and we demonstrated this today with a Summit of Democratic Mayors in Rome.
Today, the EDP is entering a new phase. Between now and the next European elections in 2024, our goal is to become the only real alternative to the extremes. In every country and in every election where we are present, we will break down, piece by piece, the populist dam that is drying up Europe.
The EDP will carry these battles forward, fight to defend the values of the Union and be the standard bearer for European reforms.