Löfven: EU’s free movement of people requires shared borders // Future of Europe Speech, April 2019


The EU’s free movement of people requires shared external borders. President of
the European Parliament. [Vice-]president of the Commission. Distinguished Leaders of the Political Groups. Members of Parliament. My fellow Europeans. Firstly, let me express my appreciation
for all the efforts and work during this electoral period, and the progress that you have achieved for Europe. But my focus today,
will not be on our past, but on our future. I believe that we must step up, to defend our fundamental values in the European Union. And the most strategic way to fight the forces
that challenge those values, is to deliver results in the areas of employment,
security, migration and climate change, and thus: to create hope for the future. That should be our core mission:
the defence of our democratic values – and our young people’s dreams. There are people that say that idealism is the preserve
of the young. And when we enter the world of adults,
we learn that nothing is black and white, and realise that self-interest and cynical
trade-offs rule the world. I believe that narrative is wrong. My parents took me in as a foster child,
and taught me about shared responsibility, about respect for every human being,
about solidarity. During my trade union and political life as an adult,
I have had to compromise and make tough decisions, in difficult situations,
such as economic downturns and terrorist attacks. That has not made me forget my values. It has only deepened my belief in the importance
of having a moral compass, to guide you through these tough times. Because if we didn’t let our values steer
our decisions, if we didn’t feel our choices were leading
us towards the kind of society we believe in, what would be the point in making any decisions at all? The same applies to the EU. Our union is based on values. The whole idea of creating a common market,
and joint responsibility for coal and steel production, was to tie our countries and our
peoples closer together. We wanted to fulfil Friedrich Schiller’s
sentiments in Ode to Joy that Alle Menschen werden Brüder
with equal rights and equal value, which – put to the music of Beethoven
– became our common anthem. And now that our union has grown in size and has grown older as well, we, just like every individual, need to
remember our most fundamental values. For what would be the ultimate point of our
work, the ultimate point of our union,
if it did not promote the values we believe in? And this, my friends, may also be the greatest thing we could do for the world. We are living in a time when the multilateral
system is being shaken to its core. The United Kingdom wants to leave our union,
and the transatlantic link is being questioned. Meanwhile, China is on the rise – and several
economies in Southeast Asia and Africa are ready to follow in its footsteps,
and redraw the entire global economic map. At the same time, Russia is acting in a revanchist
manner, in flagrant contempt of international law. Now more than ever it’s time
to stand up for common, principle-based solutions, and a world order where might does not come
before right. But the EU can only be a strong voice for
democracy in the world if all of us Member States stand up for the principles of democracy
at home. We can only be a credible actor in the Middle
East, if we fight anti-Semitism and Islamophobia
in our own countries. We can only be a force for free media and
the rule of law in our neighbourhood, if we have free media and independent courts in
our union. For every democratic principle that is weakened
in the EU, the EU’s voice in the world will be equally weakened. Therefore, the EU must stand up for our fundamental
values. Both externally, in our world
– and internally, in our union. And this is more than about our place in the
world – this is about the whole future of our cooperation. If the principles contained in our most fundamental
contracts are not adhered to, how are we then to trust the other agreements? On the single market. On free movement. Everything that does so much for our prosperity. If our promises to each other are to be trusted,
if our cooperation and our economy are to continue to grow,
then pacta sunt servanda must apply to the most fundamental contracts of all. Therefore, Sweden will work to defend the
EU’s core values – in the budget negotiations and
in our support of the Commission’s work. My government will propose to the Swedish
Parliament that Sweden will join the European public prosecutor´s office, to contribute
in the fight against corruption and the embezzlement of EU funds. We support also the Belgian proposal to establish
an EU mechanism for the peer review of adherence to the rule of law. And I will devote my efforts in Europe to
defending the values that I have borne since my childhood,
of the equal value of all people, and of solidarity. I will give my all,
side by side with so many of you, to refute and fight the extremist forces,
who deny these values – and those forces who are doing everything they can to tear apart the union that defends them. Of course the EU is a compromise,
– probably one of the most successful compromises in world history. But there can be no compromising on human
dignity. – No reasonable level of anti-Semitism. – No acceptable level of racism. – No tolerable level of misogyny or homophobia. Never will we compromise on these values! The defence of democracy is also the defence of young people’s dreams. Is there anything more dangerous to society
than its young people ceasing to dream? It is in societies that have lost hope that
both political and religious extremism can grow the strongest. And this is not only crucial in the fight
against extremism, but also in the work to uphold broad, popular support for our union. I believe it is crucial for all of us in the
current Brexit negotiations, that the UK and the EU have the ability to move on as friends
– and create a close, strong and long-term relationship. But the only way for the EU to avoid similar
exit ordeals in the future is to constantly prove its worth to people’s everyday lives
– and to their dreams for the future. That is why the EU should not only benefit
the market – but preferably benefit its people. It is also why the work for a larger market
can also be the work for a stronger democracy, if that market can create jobs – and hope
– for our young people. Over the past two years, South African President
Cyril Ramaphosa and I have co-chaired a Global Commission on the Future of Work for the International
Labour Organisation. And there is no doubt that in the future work
will be more advanced, more automated and more digitised – and that demand for skilled
workers will soar. This is good news for the EU. We benefit from global competition that is
based on knowledge – rather than lower wages. But – we cannot rest on our laurels. Everyone wants to be in the same position. China has long been training more engineers
than the United States, Germany and Japan – put together. In this respect, our European cooperation
will have an incredibly important role to play in the creation and sharing of world-leading
knowledge and innovation. And there are always many competing interests
in budget negotiations. But my country has learned the very hard way
that it is only with strict priorities and a budget that is under control that democracy
can deliver, in the long-term and with stability. That is why, given all the competing interests,
we do not propose a larger budget, but rather the stronger prioritisation of
innovation and new jobs, and the digital, educational and physical infrastructure required
to make them possible. It is our responsibility, for our young people’s
dreams, to take advantage of this opportunity. Our solution can never be to lower wages,
or raise protectionist walls. We should not shut ourselves off from world
– we should lead it. Therefore I’m proud that young people in
Tallinn or Bratislava, can listen to hip hop from Paris,
or fado from Lisbon – on Spotify from Stockholm. But I also know how hard Spotify had to work
to get launched in Europe. A start-up company in Silicon Valley can launch
a product on the US market and reach over 320 million people immediately. Our only chance of competing with this
is to make it just as easy to reach all the citizens of the EU at the same time. Believe me, anyone who has lived through a
dark, Nordic winter, knows that we can’t compete with California when it comes to the
weather! For generations, people from our continent
have travelled across the Atlantic, in search of a better life. But the young IT geniuses of today and the
future, should not have to go west, or east,
to realise their dreams. They should be able to do so here, in Europe,
in a digital single market, open to everyone. And it is now almost a treat to visit the
European Commission website, and see that one priority policy area is: the European
Pillar of Social Rights. And, of course, my pride is not diminished
when it also says that we launched this work in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. I am grateful to President Juncker and the
Commission, to the European Parliament and to the Member
States in the Council for all of our work
to create a social pillar, and establish 20 key principles that strengthen
the social rights of all the citizens of Europe. But no worker will or should thank us, until these 20 principles also become a reality, across the EU. – Until we stand up for collective agreements
and fair wages. – Until we put a stop to rule breaking and
tax fraud. – Until we secure gender equality,
and women’s right to a full wage, a career without glass ceilings,
and the freedom to decide over their own lives. For the same reasons, Sweden will actively
promote new free trade agreements, because we know how many jobs they can create. But all these agreements should be favourable
to people as well as to the market, and respect our environment, our health and the rights
of workers. And there is enormous potential for the European
services market – if it is opened up – and shaped with concern for social rights. The EU labour market must be defined by
all of the positive freedoms: The freedom to study abroad, learn languages, work throughout
Europe. Never the freedom to set workers against workers! Our common labour market should not crush
workers’ dreams, it should fulfil them! I know, that if you are to have hope in
the future, you must also feel safe, in the here and now. ISIS and terrorism are dreadful security threats
that must be dealt with together, – but, unfortunately, that’s not the only challenge that we have. I recently met the leadership of Europol at
their headquarters in The Hague, and their Virtual Command Post. Europol has done an amazing job, not least, breaking up
and arresting paedophile networks. It is a type of crime where every nation’s
police service can see their part, but we can only see the whole – and crush it – in
cooperation with each other. A single nation would not – even if it really
wanted to, even if it poured in resources – be able
to solve it alone. So Europe is borderless for criminals as well. They read up on European laws,
looking for the weakest national legislation, and for new national markets to enter. That’s why Sweden wants to deepen European
efforts to fight organised crime and cyber threats. We want to strengthen our cooperation on security
and defence, increase our ability to implement joint civilian
and military crisis management operations, and have a European Union that cooperates
with strategic partners and builds security – together. I also know that there is broad agreement,
in this parliament and on this continent, that the EU must never again lose control
in the way it did during the refugee crisis. Chaotic migration affects the confidence of
the whole of society in the reception of refugees – but it affects the refugees themselves
worst of all. The only ones who benefit are right-wing extremists,
who are able to use the situation to inflame hatred of migrants. The EU’s free movement of people requires
shared external borders, and a shared responsibility for orderly and
regulated migration, built on three pillars: – Firstly: strong co-operation with countries
outside the EU so that fewer people are displaced, and more people can have better living conditions,
so that new migration crises can be reduced or prevented entirely. – Secondly: the control of all external borders,
which is now taking place through the strengthening of Frontex, creating greater security and
saving lives. – Thirdly: the fair distribution of those
who arrive and whose grounds for asylum are to be examined,
with that work carried out as a shared responsibility by all Member States. It should not be possible to benefit from
all of the advantages of the Schengen cooperation, and then refuse to share in the responsibility
for its maintenance. We have a huge task ahead of us. Sweden will do its best to support the completion
of that task. And I am under no illusions that it will be
simple. But if we fail to deliver,
the Schengen Agreement will be weakened, and – in the long run – so will the entire
EU. So, it is time to step up, for orderly and
regulated migration in Europe – it is the best interests of us all. Dear friends,
as Swedes we’re often asked: Do you know ABBA? Do you know Zlatan Ibrahimović? But now we have to get ready for another question:
Do you know Greta Thunberg? We are proud of the demonstrations she has
inspired, which gathered over a million young people
all over the world. But one thing we must never forget in their
message: It is not up to their generation to solve
the climate crisis. It is up to us. All generations. Here and now. Sweden is ready to be in the lead, and show
what is possible. We have a climate framework for our society,
which will lead our efforts to cut emissions quickly and powerfully,
and achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. But it is us, together, that must implement the Paris
Agreement without any ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ or ‘maybes’,
to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees. And, as part of this work, the EU needs to
adopt a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest. It is also a great opportunity for European
industry, as the whole world is crying out for new solutions. So, this is not only the right thing to do morally,
this is also the smart thing to do economically, and is crucial to our survival. To conclude,
This is what I want to say to you today. Idealism is not only the preserve of the young. Our common values have been the basis of the
EU’s fantastic history, and they must guide us, so that we can have
an even brighter future. And in these times when people say that the
EU must prove its worth, there is no better task for our union
than defending our democratic values, and – by delivering on jobs, security, migration
and climate change – defending the dreams of our young people. An EU that can deliver this not only gains
greater legitimacy – but also a stronger voice in our world. It is indeed a difficult task. But that’s why it’s so alluring,
that’s why it’s so perfect for us. Thank you for listening.

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