PRESS CONFERENCE BY JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER: TALKING POINTS
A fifth and final point that I learnt from my young campaigners: Europe must take on a more responsible role in the world. We cannot and must not sit idly by when thousands of refugees desperately try to reach our shores across the Mediterranean while fleeing from political or religious prosecution or from devastating economic and social circumstances. As Christian Democrats, we can and must never accept that the Mediterranean becomes a graveyard!
As even Europe, the richest continent in the world, cannot accommodate the people in need from the whole world, we will need to help and show solidarity so that fewer people will have to leave their homes and family to go on uncertain journeys towards the North.
This is why today, I want to express my commitment and my support for the objectives of the ONE campaign. The ONE campaign is a grassroots campaign of more than 3 million people, many of them young people, who are fighting against extreme poverty. It is a non-partisan organisation, but during this election campaign, they have called on me and others running in this election to support their objectives. This is what I want to do today, and I am grateful to the all the ONE campaigners who have joined us here today.
I want notably to support the ONE call on the next Commission to ensure that all EU Member States step up their efforts to meet the UN Millennium objectives for development aid. The richest countries in the world should invest at least 0.7% of their GDP into development aid to reduce poverty across the world. The 28 EU Member States on average only invest a bit more than 0.4% at the moment. Only 4 Member States have reached the 0.7% target: the first to do this were my home country Luxembourg and Sweden in 2013, followed by the UK and Denmark.
I believe Europe can and must do much better. And I will fight for this as Commission President. I want to lead a responsible Commission over the next five years. But our responsibility does not stop at Europe's borders. We must work together to eradicate poverty once and for all from this planet.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tomorrow, the European Parliament elections will start in several EU countries, to continue until Sunday evening. More than 300 million European citizens will have to make up their mind about the future direction our continent should take.
I call on all European citizens, first of all to make use of their right to vote in the days to come. The right to vote is a very precious one. In other parts of the world, people are fighting or even dying for this right. Let us all show that we in Europe cherish this right and that we honour democracy. Let's make use of our right to vote!
My second call is: Do vote, but do not give your votes to extremists, xenophobes or fascists, as they unfortunately continue to exist in Europe. If we want Europe to function and to serve its citizens, we should vote for people who will work hard in the next European Parliament. Who will defend European values and fundamental rights, which continue to come under regular attack both at home and abroad. Voting for extremists means at best voting for an empty seat in the European Parliament. Europe cannot afford empty seats in its Parliament at this crucial moment of our common history!
My third call is, of course, give your vote to a member party of the European People's Party. Vote, for example, CD&V or CDH here in Belgium, CSV in Luxembourg, PSD or CDS-PP in Portugal, Nea Demokratia in Greece, CDU in Germany, ÖVP in Austria, Civic Platform in Poland, or Kokoomus in Finland. To make the EPP the strongest political group in the European Parliament. And thereby to make me the next President of the Commission.
Thanks to all of you for having campaigned for me, for our European values and for our European democracy. As Commission President, I will not forget what I have learnt during this campaign. And I am very much looking forward to working with you over the next 5 years."