Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-07-04-Speech-3-277"

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"First of all, I should like to congratulate Mr Mayol on his arrival here in this House. I am able to speak from experience. Mr Mayol, you will find that your mandate is an absolutely extraordinary one, but one which is nonetheless worth the trouble. I hope that your years here will be fruitful, pleasant and interesting. You will certainly have to work hard, but something tells me that you are not afraid of hard work. So, once again, my best congratulations! Actually I do know a little about Catalonia. I do not speak Catalan but I can understand it, which is something at least. The problem you have raised is obviously even more complex than the issue of constitutional regions within the boundaries of a single country. You are talking about a nation which straddles two countries, if you will allow me to put it so cavalierly, both of which are anxious to maintain their territorial integrity. I am happy to leave you with the responsibility for the prospects which you have opened up. On the other hand, I completely agree with you when you emphasise the fact that the Catalans love their nation, their language and their culture, but that at the same time they are very European, very open to the world outside. I can tell you that we are not unaware of the fact that the Prime Minister of Spanish Catalonia was one of the first people to launch the movement in favour of constitutional regions. If I know him, and I know him well and have confidence in him, that movement will certainly not come to a halt, and as long as it keeps going it will be skilfully conducted. Mr Pujol and the other Prime Ministers will see to that. To that extent I believe that the debate will progress in the right direction in the years to come."@en1

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