Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-03-Speech-1-021"
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substitute; Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs (2002-01-17--2004-07-19)3
"Mr President, Madam Vice-President of the Commission, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, the non-attached Members are too diverse for me to speak other than on my own behalf, apart of course from offering our new colleagues a ‘very great welcome’. They have learnt, over a much longer period of time and much more harshly than many of us, what independence and freedom mean. They have felt it in their flesh and blood, and I believe that, in this House, they will be able to maintain the true meaning of these words, rather than merely going through a rhetorical ritual. Today Europe is breathing with both of its lungs, the Pope has said. It is doing so for the first time since the end of the sixteenth century, when the Europe of the Roman Church had exactly the same borders, apart from Greece, as the Europe of 2004. History does not develop by chance. This Europe is going to breathe, and that is a good thing. Please allow me, however, to stress that this breathing is not without its worries. Europe is asking itself what its nature is and what future it has. It is asking this question, and the problem of borders, which is currently arising, highlights the point very clearly. I believe that this concern stems from an initial decision. Europe would like to be political. The European Union was created by men, by the founding fathers, who did not want it to be political: they wanted to create an area of peace through law and economics. But must I remind you that although peace on our continent has been ensured by means of law and economics, it was born out of balances of power and acts of faith? It was the balance of power at the end of the war which brought peace, or at least ended the war. It was the balance of power in 1989 which brought down the Berlin Wall. There have been innumerable acts of faith such as those by de Gaulle and Adenauer, by Walesa, by Prague, by the countries of the East, by Chancellor Kohl reunifying Germany under the very noses of the Soviets. These are political acts of faith. If Europe wants to be a power, a real one, if it wants to map out its own destiny, its future, and if it wants to be able to defend, to sustain, to communicate its values, I believe we should return to reality and the reality is that Europe will not be built without the States. What are the true pillars of reality? They are the States: it is they who can convince and lead their people not just to agreement on the superficial, but to agreement on the fundamentals. Not merely agreement on the good things, but also agreement on the difficult things, on crises, on hardships, on those which will inevitably come, since history is always littered with crises and pitfalls. Unless Europe is constructed with the States, it will be weak, it will be a sort of club founded upon the consumer – it is very interesting to note that we speak more often in this House of the consumer than of the citizen – it may or may not be comfortable, it may or may not be peaceful, it may or may not be rich, but either way it will be weak. And when one cannot communicate the values one defends, when one is, shall we say, a market, one’s future depends on predators. Protectors are often also predators, and I believe we should remember that from time to time."@en1
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