“Together with you, we look at the future, the future of our European project, a fairer, more inclusive and more prosperous society, as we continue to live out our values of freedom and peace that mark our continent. I know, it may seem something remote or even surreal to imagine that our nations could be torn apart in fratricidal wars, that our neighbours could suddenly become our enemies, that at the age of 18, you could wear a uniform and find yourself fighting on the demarcation lines in Strasbourg, a rifle in your hand, pointing at your neighbour. Yet, this is what happened to previous generations. And this is what happened just a few decades ago in the Balkans, a stone’s throw from here”. David Sassoli went on to address the young people attending the EYE2021 event, saying: “I think it is good to stop for a moment, to take stock, to look at our achievements, to reflect on the peace that for 75 years has been guaranteed on our continent, on our single currency, a Europe without internal borders, freedom and the right to move, live, work and love freely in each of our 27 EU member states. Previous generations have shown great commitment and determination to overcome the horrors and resentments of war, to trust each other, to know and to learn to love each other despite their differences, to build a common future and get to where we are today”.
“The Conference on the Future of Europe comes at a crucial time in this decade. Indeed, I already recalled the importance of this reflection and Parliament is looking forward to it. We believe that it is urgent to look at where we are today and where we want to go together. This is an unprecedented exercise because you, young people, and all European citizens, are called to contribute to this debate and shape our common future together”. Sassoli added: “Your generation is a civically engaged and politically active generation, as demonstrated by the fact that you are many here today and that thousands of young people have contributed to the drafting of the recommendations for the Conference that will be adopted later this weekend. Another proof is the unprecedented mobilisation of young people in the last European elections in 2019, and the very clear messages we have received: the need to protect the world from climate change, and to ensure a sustainable future for all of us and for generations to come”.