S&D and SPD confirm joint commitment to fight for strong Europe based on solidarity
Following the two day visit of the Bureau of the S&D Group, accompanied by the head of the German Delegation Udo Bullmann, to Berlin, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella has reiterated our call for a truly European solution to the refugee crisis, solidarity amongst member states and a return to growth in Europe.
In addition to various meetings with the SPD, S&D MEPs visited a refugee shelter in the district of Wilmersdorf, which is a successful example of positive integration hosting more than 1000 refugees today. S&D MEPs also met with Franziska Giffey, mayor of Neukölln, to discuss about the refugee crisis and the positive and exemplary measures taken by the Neukölln government and administration for integration and inclusion.
Speaking at the conclusion of the visit, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella stated:
"Social Democrats all over Europe should not deny themselves and their fundamental values by running after right wing proposals. We stressed during the meeting with the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, that we need a clear and coherent position on the migration crisis based on solidarity, the sharing of responsibility, integration and security. This is what European citizens expect from us and for which we will fight for them.
"The S&D Group considers the building of a preventive barrier at the Italian-Austrian Brenner border to be serious mistake; one in stark contrast to the values and rules of the European Union. Hence, we urge the European Commission to assess whether the decision of the Austrian government complies with Schengen and EU rules. Europe must be a space of integration, cultural diversity, respect and human rights.
"From Berlin, the lessons of history should be more evident than anywhere else: walls cannot solve global challenges. Our call is for bridges in Europe, not walls.
"The meeting with the SPD Parliamentary Group and its leader, Thomas Oppermann, was the occasion to stress the need for further investment in Europe, to support the real economy and stave off deflation. GDP growth remains weak and in this environment any discussion on sovereigns would be counterproductive. On the contrary, priority should be given to a balanced implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact which should be simplified in order to serve growth. We also highlighted some of these issues in our meeting with the SPD Chairman and German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.