ESN meets the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz

Last April 22nd, the three delegations of ESN Pisa, Siena and Florence had the pleasure to meet the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, during the event when he received the Honoris Causa Degree from the University for Foreigners of Siena.

The event, which took place in the morning, was inaugurated with a Laudatio by Professor Moretti, who outlined Martin Schulz’s profile -both political and moral- highlighting his passion and strong pro-Europe feelings that distinguish his everyday work in the institutions. Later, the Professor reminded the audience that the President had been working -since he was young- in a bookshop in a little town near Aachen, growing the passion for culture that he still nourishes when he’s not in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Shortly afterwards, Schulz gave an unforgettable Lectio Magistralis, actively followed by the people there, also with a passionate live twitting. He highlighted the importance of dialogue -especially in different languages- recalling the case he defined as an ‘ambassador of intercultural dialogue’: Giulio Regeni, whose assassination shocked everyone, especially the German politician.

Mattia Sibra, the ESN Pisa President, asked two questions, drawing the attention on two important issues: the Schengen Convention and the Intelligence. Regarding the first question, Schulz reassured “The convention won’t end, as its abolition would implicate invaluable costs that not even the most Euro-sceptic Countries would face. The suspension is provided for by some clauses of the Convention, to be applied in special circumstances.” Furthermore, the President has invited the Member States to intensify controls at the external EU borders, rather than the internal ones, referring to the Austrian intention to build a wall for the Brenner Pass.

Concerning the second question, Schulz remembered the importance of information sharing by the intelligence services among the EU Countries, which refuse to strictly cooperate due to their selfishness and fear for giving up national sovereignty. Visibly moved, the President highlighted that one of the consequences was the Brussels terrorist attack, in which 35 people were killed exactly one month before. The national police of different Countries are reluctant to collaborate and Europol does not have much room for manoeuvre, obstructing the preventative measures that are really important in a context where radicalism and terrorism are irrefutably real.

In conclusion, it was an intense and educational day. Schulz underlined the importance of the associations, also from a strictly Europeanist point of view, and he thanked us for our compromise for a greater European integration, realized through a process that everyone can join and in which everyone can give a contribution. “The Erasmus programs have eliminated cultural barriers between Countries,” -he said looking at us in the eyes- “you probably are the most educated generation ever”.

Vielen dank, Herr Schulz!