Welcome Note from the Presidency
Pepe López-Rúa Taboada
It is with great honour and sense of responsibility that I welcome you, on behalf of the Presidency, to the 49th International Model European Parliament Session.
There is no need for me to explain why the MEP is an important life lesson — as I believe the reasons for which one is attached to this experience change from person to person. If you ask me, my time in MEP so far has entailed a great deal of personal and academic development. Finding myself surrounded by people with a readiness to engage and go the extra mile, has further convinced me of how public service can effect change and touch on the lives of real people.
But perhaps most of all, I have had the privilege to understand why a united Europe makes sense. Our common ways of seeing life, our converging histories, or the values we share, explain and justify why European integration is a goal shared by so many.
Despite the objective being clearly set, it has become increasingly clear that the number of challenges that lie ahead are nothing short of daunting. The setbacks entailed by Brexit, the refugee humanitarian catastrophe or the recent financial crisis, with far-reaching social, political and economic consequences, have threatened the endurance of the European project. The changing landscape both inside and outside our borders, with new powers ready to take our spot in the international arena, requires a thorough analysis on our part on how to ensure the EU is able to convincingly respond to these challenges — never losing sight of what ways can helps us to move ahead towards an even greater Union.
MEP is the perfect opportunity for you to reflect upon what role you can play in the integration struggle. You will make long-lasting friendships and will meet people who will challenge your perspective on things in tremendous ways.
I invite you to arrive in Spain with an open mind. Be willing to stick to your principles, but not blindly. Defend with conviction what you believe in, but be ready to concede to other perspectives when it is necessary to move on and make progress. And most importantly, remind yourself that the MEP is an exercise in empathy: what solutions are expected from us? How can we reinforce citizens’ belief in the usefulness of a further integrated Europe?
While you try to find the answers to these questions, allow me to use a quote I came across in one my favorite movies: “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.”
May your participation in this 49th International Session of the MEP help to do just that. Not changing the world in a matter of days, but at least ensuring that we can get there. One day, soon enough.
I wish you the very best during your time in Spain. I am absolutely convinced you will make the most of your stay.
Best wishes, Pepe López-Rúa Taboada (President of the 49th iMEP session Toledo/Madrid)