Quo Vadis Europa? - Kinga Gál at the cross-border citizen forum at Nitra (Slovakia)
2010. 10. 12.
The Information Offices of the European Parliament in Budapest and Bratislava organized the Cross-border Citizen Forum at Nitra on 8th October 2010. The aim of the bilateral Slovak-Hungarian forum was to bring together MEPs and experts with citizens for a discussion on the Lisbon Treaty. MEP Kinga Gál was a key speaker at the event where participants discussed the changes brought by the Treaty to the European Union and the new EU institution, the European Citizens Initiative.
Ms. Gál, at the beginning of her speech, described the key role of the Lisbon Treaty as, "the cornerstone of the process at the end of which Europe becomes the Europe of the Citizens".
The aim of the institutional reform introduced by the Treaty is bring the EU closer to its citizens. This is ensured by simplifying the decision-making process and strengthening the role of elected deputies and the national parliaments.
Concerning the defence of fundamental rights, the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the forthcoming accession to the European Convention on Human Rights are great improvements.
"All this means that from now on, in the case that there is an infringement of our rights as ensured by the Union, and when we have made the best of all the possibilities given by the national jurisdiction, we can go to the European Court of Human Rights" - explained the MEP.
She mentioned other instruments which could be used by the citizens such as the institution of the European Ombudsman or the right to petition before discussing European Citizens` Initiative.
"The creation of the Initiative is one of the most democratic and innovative elements of the Lisbon Treaty.” - said Ms. Gál. “It gives the chance for citizens to have a direct participation in the decision-making process that will lead to the strengthening of civil society at the European level.”
She continued, “Brussels opens its doors for citizens and the Union becomes closer to them because these instruments can be used in every official language of the Union. People can talk to the Union in their own mother tongue. This new institute has to be practical and simple, but there needs to be a guarantee that no one can misuse it."