Europe’s soul depends on the outcome of the 2019 European Parliamentary elections, according to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“It will be a fight of basic principles and values to defeat extreme neo-liberalism and far-right populism,” the Greek leader told MEPs in Strasbourg on September 11. He called on the bloc’s pro-European and democratic forces to unite and “stand side by side on the same side of history”.

Tsipras, a politician from the left-wing Syriza party, had been invited to the EU parliament to speak about the future of Europe.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the EU currently faces a broad range of challenges, including migration management, the UK’s departure from the bloc, and the rise of right-wing populism, which have led to internal disagreement among its 28-member states and could significantly impact its future direction.

The Greek PM also said that his country is an example for others in how it dealt with its economic crisis without succumbing to extremism. “Greece is no longer part of the problem but rather part of the solution,” he said.

“Very few believed we could pull it off, but we pulled it off,” he added, referring to the country’s adherence to painful economic constraints imposed by eurozone and international creditors.”

Tspiras’ speech took place the day before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver his State of the Union address to the same parliament. On September 12, Juncker is expected to address migration policy, such as by proposing to strengthen the EU’s external borders.