Bourgeois: "I want my European Union back"

The Flemish PM Geert Bourgeois (nationalist) had the honour to deliver the opening speech for the start of the new academic year at the Europacollege (College of Europe) in Bruges. His lecture was titled "I want my European Union back" and unveiled his views on how the EU should develop.

Bourgeois opened with 'Plus est en vous', a quote by the humanist Lodewijk van Gruuthuuse, a reference to the European Union going through rough times. "We need a story to trigger enthusiasm among Europeans. We need a 'New Deal' to put an end to the EU's existential crisis", Bourgeois told his audience.

"The European Union should be a community of values and principles, a haven of hope and Enlightenment, an example for the world."

Bourgeois insisted however that the old traditions and habits of each nation should be respected, referring to Scotland an Catalonia. On the Brexit, he said he hopes for a soft landing, and that the good ties with the U.K. can be kept.

According to the Flemish PM, the European Union should put forward 3 priorities: digitilisation, energy and transport/mobility. He also supports an Economic Monetary Union and a European Defence Mechanism. Bourgeois also wants Europe to play a bigger role in "frozen conflicts" in Europe's backyard, referring to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.