Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-01-15-Speech-2-005"

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"Good morning colleagues. This Parliament must continue to be multilingual. Eleven languages make 110 combinations. Twenty-two languages make 462 combinations. Thirty-five languages make 1 090 combinations. Can you imagine a translation from Finnish, via English and French, to Polish? With direct translation some will vote for budget line 2 while others are still voting on budget line 1. With more than one relay our system will not work. If we do not go for reform, then most of us will no longer be able to use our own language. In two years we might have ten new Member States. Our buildings are not prepared for that. Soon even more countries – from the Ukraine to the Balkans – will be applicant countries. We risk a Babel-like confusion. Our next President must dedicate himself to internal reform and successful enlargement. Indeed our next President will not have much time to travel around. We need a craftsman, a handyman, rather than a statesman. All of us will be to blame if we are not prepared for enlargement by 2004. How we vote today is part of that responsibility. Every vote for me is a clear signal to Mr Cox and Mr Martin: limit your ambitions to enlargement and internal reform. Today we lose a lot of time over badly prepared votes. If journalists ask how we voted, we do not always know. If we knew, we would not have time to serve our people. We would then be bad MEPs. Leave it to the committees to prepare the votes. Let the plenary deal with the important political issues. Give us at least one week to consult and consider how we will vote. Today many Members are not allowed to speak in debates. If you represent a small delegation in a big group, or an alternative view, the group whips will seldom allow you to speak. Give every Member the right to speak at least three times a year. Leave one-third of the speaking time for real debates. Let us corner the commissioner when he or she states that the Commission can accept Amendment No 3 and rejects Amendments Nos 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Today common decision-making takes place between the Commission and the Council. They share the information. Even in the conciliation committees our Members have no access to working documents, legal notes or Minutes. Does "common" really mean "unilateral"? In the committees the Members discuss draft laws based on outdated drafts. Behind us sit young civil servants from the permanent representations. The Commission and the Council have all the information we cannot get. I have been here for 22 years. In that time as an elected Member, I have never received adequate information from the committee. To get information I have to find sources like journalists. Our next President must ensure that all information is available to all of us and, if necessary, take the Commission and the Council to court. Today, 70% of all laws are passed by junior civil servants in working groups. Fifteen percent are settled by the ambassadors. Only 15% reach the level of the ministers who then read manuscripts prepared by civil servants. Democracy was born in Europe and buried in the Commission and the Council. Our next President should re-establish democracy. He should inspire us to discuss whether our future Europe should be the federalist vision of a democratic EU or a Europe of democracies. Our next President should unite all elected representatives from national parliaments and the European Parliament in moving law-making from behind closed doors into the open, from civil servants to elected Members. For what is now needed I offer my skills and energy. But all I ask is to borrow your vote in the first round: firstly, because it might be your only chance to vote for me; secondly, because many votes will test the groups behind Mr Cox and Mr Martin. This time we need a practical and politically-neutral shop steward to serve all of us. Give yourself a better choice. Improve on both Cox and Martin by voting Mr Bonde from office number 007. By the end of the day we will have a better presidency thanks to those who drafted the "fair chair platform" and created the first real electoral battle in our history. The next chair will have a real mandate. He deserves our full support."@en1

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