"The virus of nationalism stops with the medicine of democracy"

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The president of the European Parliament, the Italian David Sassoli, is clear that it is an "emergency", because "there is only one planet earth" that has already suffered too much violence. Hence, he is concerned about "the future of the Earth and that of future generations." After opening the new European Commission on Sunday, Sassoli has come to the Climate Summit (COP25) held in Madrid. Between meeting and meeting, attend to the questions of THE REASON.

The European Parliament has declared the "climate emergency". Is it one of the personal marks of the legacy that you want to leave to the EU?

It is not a symbolic act, it is a political act. It is a very important gesture because the political forces in Parliament have decided that we are not facing a simple crisis, we are facing an emergency. And this reinforces the purpose of the new Commission that there should be an investment by 2030 of a 55% reduction in emissions. It is very important that it comes followed by a just transition. We must preserve the economic value of Europe, of European industry, and we must safeguard jobs. In this transition, we should not focus on penalties, we should focus on the objectives. Our goal is to reach 2030 with a 55% reduction in emissions. This can be done by the EU. As the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez has said, what Europe does will be a reflection throughout the world. Although on the economic level there is a need to change many aspects.

Are all EU countries going to be able to reduce emissions, the use of coal … in the face of this global emergency?

We must accompany them. There are states that are making a very important effort, especially those that have a very high dependence on coal. The Polish prime minister has indicated that his economy depended on 100% coal. From there they have gone to 75%. It is clear that each partner starts from diverse standards, our transition must balance the economies of all countries in decarbonization.

New Parliament, new Commission … What is the main challenge for this legislature?

Naturally one of our priorities is clearly the fight against climate change. The EU wants to be a leader in the fight against climate change in the world. We also have to strengthen our social model. This is very important, as it is our business card, our passport. We need to grow, but defending the rights of people. And we need a Europe that grows even more. While it is true that there are countries that grow a lot, others are growing very little. Therefore, we must foster a growing Europe. You have to commit to digitalization, the contemporary world, the future.

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Where is the European Union going? How far do you want to go?

We must reconcile the geographical space with the political space. Therefore, we must continue to expand, because the issue of the Western Balkans must be resolved and must also be a priority. On the issue of the Western Balkans we are determined to move forward. Allow both Albania and North Macedonia to begin their accession process to the EU. We also have to restore the rules of European democracy. After the strong economic crisis, there was a break in this regard. Now we want to become the center of all the construction of European democracy. We need some very important intervention. And in the middle of everything, we have the centrality of the European Parliament. We are very proud of the role we are going to play regarding the dialogue with the other institutions. This week we will begin negotiations for the Budget for the next seven years. Naturally, our Budget is ambitious and we are not content to take a picture of the attendees. Although some countries in the north of the EU are not very convinced.

It speaks of centrality, but what about the risks of nationalism for some EU countries?

We can invest in democracy if we strengthen democracy. This is the medicine to stop the virus of nationalism, which is very European and is currently infecting our society. It is an extremism, an extremism, of rights in particular, that wants to generate divisions in Europe. But today we can save democracy if we strengthen it and, above all, make our citizens understand that it is convenient.

Next week there are elections in the United Kingdom, what would be the best result for the EU?

We are respectful of citizens' decisions. Of course, we are convinced that if the United Kingdom leaves the EU, it is better to do so with an agreement than without an agreement, for the good of European citizens, but also of the British. That said, if Brexit tried to divide the EU it has not succeeded. Europe, as for Brexit, has joined, speaks with one voice. So notice: the EU is not easy to divide.

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