Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-03-Speech-1-018"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, not everyone has the opportunity to experience an historic moment such as this: a positive historic moment of peace, of joy, of real progress, where the light of hope can easily outshine the slightly grey cynicism which we often come up against. It is a great privilege for which we should be proud of and grateful to all the men and women who have made this day a reality. Europe has not been reunited today: it has been united for the first time, and it is united today as never before, because it has never been united on the basis of democracy and the free will of the peoples. Over the past few days, when watching the television or personally taking part in the enlargement celebrations, I have found myself thinking often about my grandfather, Roberto, who was born in 1899 in a small town near Mantua, in Italy. He was part of the final conscription of young men sent to the front during the First World War. It is also to him and people like him that we should dedicate this day. Only three generations later and we are celebrating an unimaginable event, one which for a long time we did not even imagine. How many of us today have the same memories and have suffered the same anguish, but until today it was all characterised by different coloured flags? Today our joy is painted in the same colours and plays to the same marvellous music. Nevertheless, this unification – and this is something which we should all know and tell ourselves – is unfinished; it is also pointless to deny that the happiness that we feel today – here, we, perhaps, to a certain extent the initiated – is less intense and more superficial in the streets of our cities, among the people. This is our challenge, the challenge of our generation: awareness of the path we have travelled must guide us in order to achieve the great dream, as yet incomplete, of a great united and democratic Europe. Over the next few months, before the end of the year, we have three significant opportunities to address together, not least to win over those who still have not gauged or do not believe in the importance of this day. The first – as has already been mentioned – is the Constitution. We still do not have a Constitution and negotiations may have recommenced, but certainly those who are still digging their heels in are very determined. We still do not have one, and we are not sure that we will have the Constitution that we want. Today we have to repeat unequivocally: the Constitution we are calling for is the one adopted by the Convention and not the one put forward in part during recent summits and intergovernmental conferences. The Europe, the Constitution that we want are still in danger, and have not yet been obtained. Therefore, we must all take action. The second issue which we must address – and if possible conclude by the end of the year – together in this Chamber, but also in the Commission and the Council, is the Cyprus question. Here again there is no point being hypocritical: it is a fact that enlargement will not be complete and real until the last wall in Europe has fallen. This, I repeat, concerns us all, because unfortunately this wall is still standing. The third and final issue which we must tackle before the end of the year, and which is undoubtedly urgent, is the war in Iraq. The European Union, both old and new, was unable to stop it and we must acknowledge this too. Preparing and having peace in that country, in that region, is a responsibility shared by us all, one which we must assume quickly and urgently, otherwise also this day, like certain others, will merely be a collection of rhetoric."@en1

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