Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-03-Speech-1-006"

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"The first item is the formal opening of the first sitting of the enlarged European Parliament. Colleagues, today it is a very pleasant duty on behalf of Parliament to open this part-session. This Parliament now comprises the 626 Members elected for the fifth mandate of Parliament and the 162 new Members from the 10 new Member States, which acceded to the European Union on Saturday, 1 May. It is for our Parliament – as we have already marked in a symbolic ceremony outside – a special and extraordinary moment. In Dublin last Saturday, Ireland's Nobel literature laureate Seamus Heaney captured this special event with the words 'On a day when newcomers appear, let it be a homecoming.' This is indeed a homecoming and we are so pleased that so many new colleagues join us today. It is a moment of hope, a moment that shows that determined will within the European Union, its institutions and Member States can deliver real results: a win-win situation for all involved. Fifteen years ago, early in 1989, this would have looked like an impossible dream, but it has come true: what a wonderful moment. From this platform I should like to issue – on behalf of the 626, to the 162 – a heartfelt, warm welcome to this Parliament. I should like to pay tribute to all who have contributed to this moment, parliamentarians – European and national, Member State governments, many presidencies of the European Council and the determined leadership of the European Commission. I am sure the House would want me in particular to thank Mr Verheugen for his extraordinary personal leadership."@en1

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