Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2000-11-29-Speech-3-058"

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"Mr President, even Paris is divided over Nice. The French President and the First Minister seem to be more obsessed with their own political future than with that of Europe. The French Presidency has shown little enough consistency, and where it has this has mainly been in terms of its lack of neutrality and the preferential treatment it has given to the large Member States, and that at a time when the Union has never been more in need of a President who looks for consensus. In order to make room for the newcomers, all Member States need to move a little closer together, but they only do so when they really cannot put off the evil moment any longer. It seems as if some governments are already reconciling themselves to a new IGC for enlargement. The governments have lost sight of the urgent need for reforms because they are concentrating too much on their own position of power in the new set-up. For example, many a country will emphasise that majority decision making must become the general rule, but at the same, will come up with so many exceptions that precious little remains on balance. If majority voting does not become the general rule then decision-making will become irretrievably deadlocked, as Mr Prodi rightly commented a moment ago. If this does not go hand-in-hand with codecision then democracy will be further undermined. The weighting of votes in the Council must do justice to the population numbers in the Member States, which means that it is quite acceptable for there to be some corresponding differences between the larger and smaller countries. All Member States must retain one Commissioner of their own during this enlargement round. Only afterwards should we decide on a new system on the basis of the experience we will have gained by then. If one thing is for certain, Europe is going to undergo radical change, and so let us not run ahead of a situation that we are unable to take stock of as yet. It would be very desirable to introduce a hierarchy into the Commission, i.e. Vice-Presidents, Commissioners and Under-Commissioners. In addition, this would afford Parliament more opportunities to discuss issues with politically responsible members of the Commission rather than officials who read out actual texts that they could just as easily have sent. The Charter does not deserve to be left in a vacuum, with no clear status. In failing to incorporate the text into the Treaty and only subscribing to it in political terms, we are opening the door to major problems of legal interpretation. Hence the Charter must be incorporated into a treaty text as soon as possible. I have this to say to the Heads of Governments: making concessions at the forthcoming summit is not a political defeat but a political triumph: the triumph of the new Europe over the old. Do not allow any shadows to fall over Nice, and let Paris be the City of Light again."@en1

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