Ahead of next year’s European elections, polarization and fragmentation are in the air. Some European conservatives are acting irresponsibly and putting populist approaches ahead of pragmatism. The left is drawn to economic populism. We know that the Europe of tomorrow can only be built from the political center.

This week, liberals, centrists, democrats and reformists are gathering in Vienna, hosted by the NEOS party, and recommitting to fighting the European elections with pride. That’s pride in our achievements and in our record of delivery, with the promise of a stronger Europe that delivers for all EU citizens.

With the adoption of our ‘Vienna declaration’, we outline the steps needed to deliver for EU citizens in the next eight months. We call on our coalition partners in the European Parliament to recommit to our mid-term agreement, reject extremism and focus on delivering the reforms that citizens demand before the European elections. 

The European Commission must join us in recommitting to fighting democratic backsliding and illiberalism wherever it raises its head.

We see that democracy is in decline globally. This is sadly also true in Europe. At the State of the Union debate next week, the European Commission must join us in recommitting to fighting democratic backsliding and illiberalism wherever it raises its head — be it in Budapest, Warsaw or Rome. We need stronger rights for EU citizens, the rule of law, an independent media, and free and fair elections. We will not compromise on this.

Democracy cannot prosper in an environment of general anxiety. We know that households are feeling real economic pain. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and its consequences have squeezed incomes, which is why we are taking measures to build the economy of tomorrow, strengthening people’s purchasing power and innovation.

At the State of the European Union (SOTEU) address, we want the European Commission to commit to reshape our EU budget and focus European investment on key strategic sectors. We want a European Commission committed to defending the interests of Europe’s middle class.

The cost-of-living crisis facing European households will be fought by unleashing the European economy. We believe there is so much more we can do for our single market and our SMEs. The European Commission should launch a new initiative against red tape and for enforcement of EU single-market rules, as this is the basis of our prosperity.

Driving a wedge between communities and creating culture wars for political purposes is the road to nowhere.

This summer again highlighted the imperative of fighting climate change. This can only be achieved with a strong centrist coalition, willing to meet the needs of rural and nonrural communities alike, ensuring that the costs are distributed fairly, and the choices made are pragmatic. At the SOTEU, we want a clear commitment to the finalization of key reforms.

Driving a wedge between communities and creating culture wars for political purposes is the road to nowhere. The green transition is an opportunity to create green growth, to create the technological solutions of the future, to create new jobs in Europe. No one should be left behind.

Stability and prosperity can only be based on more European cooperation. In the SOTEU debate next week, we urge the Commission President to reinforce the European Commission’s commitment to tackling the challenges of our time, from the completion of Europe’s Green Deal to a comprehensive migration and asylum pact.

From health, to our common defense and security, Europe is stronger when it works together and adapts to new realities.

From health, to our common defense and security, Europe is stronger when it works together and adapts to new realities. The illegal Russian war against Ukraine has shown the strength of our solidarity. Ukraine fights for our freedoms and our support is unwavering. We have promised the Ukrainians a European destiny, and this must be delivered. Enlargement must go hand-in-hand with reform. The demands made by citizens in the Conference on the Future of Europe need to be realized, including real progress towards treaty change and ending unanimity in foreign and security policy decisions.

EU politics matters. The 2019 European elections were a pivotal moment in the political development of the European Union. Not only was the decline in voter participation reversed, but young pro-Europeans responded to Brexit, Donald Trump’s election and the rise in the far-right by turning out in their millions to vote for a stronger European Union, anchored in the center. 

Next year’s European elections are set to be as profound as those of 2019. Voters will have a clear choice. Renew Europe’s vision of a confident, modern and reinvigorated Europe with liberal and democratic centrism at its heart; or a coalition of chaos between the right and the far right, with extremists on the far left undermining our joint potential. The re-foundation of a Europe that is hopeful about the future; or a retreat to a fragmented and weakened European Parliament.

Those who believe in government from the center, those who are pro-European, have a political home in the liberal and democratic, Renew Europe, family. We call upon those who share our priorities to join forces. A renewed European Union will be crafted from the political center.

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