The S&D Group addresses Europe's challenges with the Hungarian youth
Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are in Budapest to exchange ideas and to propose initiatives for a more progressive Europe, a European Union that can create growth and jobs, especially for the young, and a European Union that reinforces the principle of solidarity.
Leading S&D members of the EU Parliament participated yesterday evening in a debate with young Hungarians in the context of the series of Relaunching Europe events, with the next event taking place in Warsaw in September.
S&D president Gianni Pittella said:
"We are here in Budapest because we are friends with Hungary, with the Hungarian people. We know the high expectations they had when they joined the European Union after the nightmare of communism.
"Many fables have been told about Europe lately in this country. That it wants to interfere in Hungary's internal affairs, for example. That is just not true. A climate of mistrust was created, and in this climate the issue of the death penalty has been reintroduced to the public discourse. Death penalty is against values and European law. We are here because we want to walk with our Hungarian friends on the path toward more democracy and greater respect of fundamental rights, unlike Viktor Orbán, who is taking Hungary in the opposite direction.
"Some Europeans are angry, particularly the young, because their expectations have not been fulfilled. And they are right. But the shortcomings in job opportunities, social cohesion and a fair economy are the consequence of the austerity imposed by the Conservatives. We must change Europe. Let's do it together."
Hungarian MEP István Ujhélyi said:
"Our S&D colleagues are here because they care about Hungary. We have to work together for a stronger Europe, one that can answer the demands of its citizens. One out of five Europeans aged under 25 are unemployed. As of yet the Commission has not found solutions, to open a horizon of opportunity for them. So these young people have become disillusioned with politics or are turning to populist and even radical movements. The S&Ds propose measures. Nice words are not enough. We want actions."
István Ujhélyi presented a policy paper for "The next generation of Europeans" with five objectives: to reach full employment for everyone aged under 25; to minimise forced migration triggered by economic conditions; to protect young generations from radical voices; to increase political activity and support the new politically active generation.
Hungarian MEP Péter Niedermüller added:
"We are the engine of change in the EU. We push for investment, for job creation, for solidarity and equality, and we fight fiscal dumping, social dumping and tax evasion. These are the pillars of our work in the European Parliament.
"Through conferences like this one we renew our leadership and our philosophy, we address the younger generations because we want to be the strongest political group in Europe to be able to build a better union."
Interactive panel discussions were held between MEPs and members of Hungarian civil society, as well as three workshops on emigration in Hungary, youth employment opportunities and EU foreign policy.