16 May 2019

Primetime TV debate for the European elections — On the big stage in Berlin for a strong, smart and kind Europe


In the ZDF television studio today, I discussed the future of our Europe — a Europe that together we can make stronger, smarter and more human. With me in the studio was my competitor for the office of European Commission President, Frans Timmermans. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach so many citizens, and I’m happy about the commitment of so many people to a better Europe!


I want a democratic Europe that puts people first. A Europe that is there for them, that offers them a future and opportunities. That’s what I highlighted today as my central point. Young people in southern Europe don’t ask me for a minimum wage, they ask me for a well-paid job. We Christian Democrats in Europe see the social market economy of Ludwig Erhard as our model of a fair and stable Europe. Our motto is: ‘’Social’’ means creating jobs.


Europe is our engine. We have to make sure it runs smoothly. That’s why we need a system check: as President of the European Commission, I will abolish 1000 unnecessary regulations and ensure that Europe is active in those areas where European solutions make sense and where they are needed.


Europe’s task is to protect people. By transforming Europol into a genuine European FBI, with a new cyber brigade to ward off espionage and hacks and with 10 000 additional border guards, we will create a Europe where our citizens can live safely and in peace. We will also set up a new and effective rule of law mechanism to defend our democracy, freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary across Europe.


People are at the centre of our Europe — that’s what I stand for and what I’m fighting for. In next week’s European elections, let’s create a better Europe and work together for a stronger, smarter and kinder Europe.