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Pavel Bělobrádek addresses the Congress of the European People´s Party

Added 11/9/2018
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Adress to the EPP Congress, Helsinki, 7. 11. 2018

Honoured delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Czech Christian Democrats, I would like to address this very important congress. Influence in the European Parliament means influence in the European Commission, and this has a direct impact on our nation states. If we are to succeed in the upcoming European Parliament elections, our house must be built on rock and our kingdom must not be divided. It is not enough to elect a Spitzenkandidat.

We often like to speak of common values, but at times we differ in our understanding of what this means. I believe that discussions – and disagreements – about the interpretation of values and the specific political steps taken by others are very valuable and indeed necessary. However, such discussions should be confined to the EPP, to bilateral party talks, to conversations at the level of EPP leadership, and to the Political Assembly.

We should not debate our differing points of view in the public sphere and certainly not in a way that makes us fall into the traps set by our political opponents. Our opponents – be they the Left, the progressivist liberals, the extremists or the populists – do not wish us well.We must also avoid praising or supporting competing political parties in other countries simply because we agree on a few specific policy points. Likewise, we must not weaken ourselves by standing shoulder to shoulder with our opponents when they publicly criticise our friends from the EPP. On the inside we need pluralism, dialogue and even discord. But to the outside we need to be united, confident and authentic. Only that way will we collectively have a chance to win.

We cannot simply criticize the populists and the extremists without offering our own realistic solutions. We cannot play down or ignore the issues to which they are offering solutions – false as they are in their simplicity, impracticality or even absurdity. We must pay attention to these issues and present better solutions.

Our only option is to return to the values that stood at the beginning of European integration, values that our Christian Democrat founding fathers subscribed to, lived and promoted. These values have been considered modern for some two thousand years, so we should not be afraid to defend and promote them. The EU will be as strong as the Christian Democrats who are within it. And we will be as strong as we are united and credible. That is the only way to stand against EU’s internal enemies who often serve EU’s enemies on the outside, those who would wish for the EU to be weak or not to exist at all. Let us not allow this to happen.