Citizens, policy-makers, trade unions, civil society and business came together to discuss the main issues facing Europe today, including: sustainability, migration, security, labour rights, new economic models and democracy over two days of panel debates and agora sessions.
The second day of celebrations took place in the Ridderzaal in the Dutch Parliament, where the 1948 Congress of The Hague was held, which laid the groundwork for the establishment of the European Movement and the foundations of the European Union itself.
During her keynote speech, European Movement International President Eva Maydell MEP stated:
“Now more than ever we need to stand up for what we hold dear, we need to speak up for what we consider to be true, we need to come forward and be the change we want to see in the world around us. If this gathering is to do anything, it must be to remind us that Europe is not just institutions or nations, politicians or politics. It is each and every one of us, citizens of Europe.”
Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of The Netherlands, Ms. Kajsa Ollongren also told the audience:
“The ambition demonstrated by that congress [Congress of The Hague 1948] is still highly relevant. We too must now dare to look ahead. To the Europe of our children and our grandchildren. We need to decide what kind of Europe we want them to live in. And with that vision of Europe before us, we should take concrete steps to make it a reality.”
The two days also served as a discussion arena for the Declaration of The Hague, written and released by the European Movement and partners.
Based on the discussions and debates among citizens and stakeholders, in the Declaration, we are calling for:
- a European democracy that encourages the full participation of all citizens and boosts transparency of decision-making, supported by increased investment in education
- safeguarding our open societies, defending the rule of law and strengthening the judiciary and free press
- a deeper economic and monetary union, based on an inclusive and fair economy, more ambitious when harnessing technology, focused on sustainable investments
- a social model that address widening inequalities, prioritises investment in education, culture, R&D and skills for the jobs of the future
- the promotion of European heritage and identity, while building on our cultural diversity
- strong efforts in a transition towards sustainable renewable energy, decarbonisation and the circular economy, reversing biodiversity loss, combating air and water pollution, eliminating toxic chemicals and promoting sustainable agriculture
- a more holistic approach to migration, addressing its root causes, offering protection to those in need and pursuing the social, cultural and economic inclusion of refugees and migrants in Europe in order to seize the opportunity of the diversity brought by these new Europeans
- a joint response to current geopolitical challenges, in particular when addressing difficulties with Russia and the rise of extremism and terrorism
- a common European defence policy and closer security cooperation, supported by a close partnership with the EU’s immediate neighbourhood.
- a steady involvement and implication of the candidate countries and the countries in the Eastern partnership with whom we will share a common future
- the full participation of women and young people to ensure that no one is discriminated against, both in the economy and in society as a whole