Razlog - Bansko, Bulgaria


For Congress' report in English click below, 5

For a Congress's report in Hungarian clicl the following link:


Message of the EP President Mr. Martin Schulz:

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is both an honour and a duty for me to address these words of welcome to you at the start of the 50th International Congress of the European Journalists’ Association.

It is an honour because the significance of the contribution which you all make to safeguarding diversity of opinion, to keeping the public informed and to subjecting politicians and their actions to scrutiny cannot be overestimated.

And it is a duty because many things which today we take for granted, which we simply regard as a given – freedom, including freedom of opinion, democracy, pluralism or tolerance – are under threat.

Democracies – even those here in Europe which appear so stable – are constantly evolving. When we speak about democracy, we are speaking not about a condition, but always about a process. Democracies need work, and they need to be defended at all times, and just now against the omnipresent markets. Should political decisions be guided, or even driven, by the markets? No, we need markets which bow to the will of democracy, not democracies which bow to the will of the markets! The primacy of politics must be restored.

If we Europeans are to win back political sovereignty, however, we need ‘more Europe’. Only a Europe which is a genuine economic and political power can survive in the 21st century. No country acting alone can hope to compete with the world’s emerging regions. To put it in a nutshell, we can only safeguard our democracy with and through Europe. The reverse is also true: if Europe fails, democracy fails.

Nobody should make the mistake of believing that all the advances we have made thus far are irreversible. The recent crisis has left many people feeling frightened and discouraged. The spectre of nationalism is once again abroad in Europe. Our task must be to protect people against this danger. Our task must be to send them messages of hope and solidarity.

In order to do this, we need to change the EU as we know it today. We need to do this quickly, and we need to ensure that ordinary people are with us. People are not opposed to the EU in principle. Not every critic of the EU is a Eurosceptic. To my mind, the media have a central role to play in providing people with objective information about what is happening in Europe, even if the topics to be addressed are difficult ones, even if this is not the easy route to a higher circulation or higher audience figures.

I can also see a second challenge to our European democracy. Since the start of the financial crisis, the EU governments have come to a remarkable conclusion: because the markets want to see prompt, decisive action, parliaments should be excluded from the decision-making process. This is the way the people governing us think, because they see the representatives of the people as awkward and unbiddable. But parliaments must be precisely that: awkward and unbiddable! They must ensure that political decisions are subjected to public scrutiny, and they must amend those decisions and sometimes even overturn them. For that, they need time. Yes, democracy and parliamentarianism need time.

I see one of my most important tasks as President of the European Parliament as being that of making our Assembly a forum for constructive and informed debate, a place where decisions fundamental to the future of our Union are discussed.

Ladies and gentlemen, please help to create the informed public opinion that Europe needs. And I promise you one thing: the Parliament of which I am the President will continue to admonish and, if necessary, intervene whenever and wherever freedom of the press and diversity of opinion are under threat.

I wish you every success with your congre