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Press Office

Athens, 1 February 2024

Committee on European Affairs and Committee on Public Administration briefed by European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas

The policies of the European way of life and the presentation of the European Commission's agenda for 2024 were the issues that the Vice-President of the European Commission on Our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, briefed the MPs-members of the Committee on European Affairs and the Committee of Public Administration, Public Order and Justice on. 


During his introductory remarks, the Chair of the meeting, the 1st Vice-President of the Parliament and Chair of the Special Standing Committee on European Affairs, Ioannis Plakiotakis, referred to the multiple external crises that the EU has been called to address in recent years, crises that emphasise the need for the EU's immediate action to the benefit of the European citizens. At the same time, he stressed, Europe is also facing internal challenges and cacophonies by extreme forces and populist voices that seek to question the European idea, our European identity. Therefore, he emphasised, we must all work to make the upcoming European elections the political event that will mark a Europe removed from the mistakes of the past, from what sought to divide it, removed from intolerance and efforts to return to a time that was far from the humanistic model of development on which Europe's democratic greatness was based. Mr Plakiotakis also pointed out that we have a duty to act decisively so that the extreme forces of irrationality stop finding fertile ground, otherwise we risk being confronted with abominable ghosts of the past. There is a need to strengthen the values and objectives at the heart of the EU, i.e. convergence, social cohesion, solidarity, prosperity and democracy. 


Mr Schinas, referring to the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, emphasised the establishment, for the first time, of a predictable, guaranteed mechanism of solidarity, which will give flexibility to the member states to decide how to contribute to this solidarity, but will not, however, leave room for the member states to not participate in the mechanism. As he pointed out, the new pact will ensure a mix of solidarity that the situations require, while giving the European Commission the authority to impose relocation, when conditions dictate it, but also to impose sanctions in the case of non-compliance by a member state. He also referred to the new short, mandatory control procedures at the external borders, which will ensure that anyone arriving at our borders is immediately directed to the appropriate procedure - asylum or return -, and to the initiative to create a European talent pool, which will provide targeted opportunities for legal and controlled migration in sectors where labour force shortages are identified - under conditions set by Europe. 


Regarding the Commission's priorities for 2024, the European Commission Vice-President, emphasised the review of economic governance at EU level and the Anti-Corruption Directive, in addressing the challenges faced bu labour markets, workers and businesses in the EU, both due to skills shortages and due to the rapid development of AI, as well in building a "geopolitical Europe" - an extroverted European Union, a protagonist of international developments. Finally, he stressed that, in view of the European elections, it is the duty of us all to remain committed to our priorities, to keep up the hard work and to successfully communicate to the European citizens tne value of the Europe of solutions. 


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