Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-004"

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"The next item is the commemoration of Jean Monnet and the twentieth anniversary of the draft Treaty establishing the European Union (1984 – Rapporteur: Altiero Spinelli). Today one of the major outstanding challenges we face is the adoption of a new Constitutional Treaty for the European Union. We recall here in the European Parliament with some pride the leadership that was given by this House, and in particular by Altiero Spinelli and his colleagues, some 20 years ago when they brought to fruition, through this Parliament, the first ever draft Constitutional Treaty for the European Union. I am proud to say that during this mandate, the determination to lead constitutional change and the capacity to show real parliamentary leadership has continued to manifest itself before, during and after the European Convention. In this context let me also pay tribute to the work of our Committee on Constitutional Affairs and to its chairman, Mr Napolitano. We thank them – and we thank you, Mr Napolitano – for your untiring work and your unfailing determination to make sure that we meet with success on this grand European project. So, as we commemorate these two visionary European leaders today, I should like, on behalf of the European Parliament, to call on the foreign ministers of the Union of 25 when they next meet to make a solemn declaration of political intent that they will urgently bring closure to a new Constitutional Treaty for Europe. If we do not have a Constitutional Treaty before the elections, then we want this declaration, because the people of Europe are entitled to know what they are voting on. This declaration is the minimum necessary if a Treaty cannot be concluded by the date of the election. I would ask Minister Roche to convey that to the President-in-Office of the Council. In recalling these two leaders, Monnet and Spinelli, the one clear lesson for us going forward is that we too are called upon to think long, to think wide, to think big. We too are called upon to bring the humanitarian and moral dimension into what we do, and if we do it, the Europe of values which took a great step forward in this House yesterday as we grew to a Union of 25, is a Union which in the future can touch its people as, at the time of these leaders, it touched them in the past. Colleagues, members of the European Commission and Council, welcome to this special session of commemoration. In western Europe after the Second World War a number of people had the courage to look at the big picture. Among them were two people: Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli, whom we commemorate here today. We mark the 20th anniversary today of the adoption by this European Parliament of the first draft Constitutional Treaty for the European Union and the 25th anniversary of the death of Jean Monnet. I would like today to celebrate these two leaders of vision whose own leadership showed the will, political determination and capacity to think long, wide and big. They were not people who became lost in the petty detail: they rose above the detail. One thinks in particular of Monnet and the early generation of founders of the idea of modern European integration, who rose above the ashes of the Second World War, who were prepared to see hope at a time when there was only despair, to see opportunity when there was economic breakdown, and to see in the European project an ideal of reconciliation with opportunity and prosperity. This marked them out as a special generation among all the European generations that had gone before. The clarity and the strength of Monnet's vision has proven its worth because it has endured and because, even as we face the challenges of globalisation, that vision still holds true resonance today, rooted as it was and is in humanitarian values and supranational engagement. Monnet realised early that, acting alone, 'the nations of Europe are too circumscribed to give their people the prosperity made possible and hence necessary by modern conditions'. Monnet attached great importance to the moral and human aspects of the European idea, captured in the Schuman plan by the denunciation of the spirit of supremacy and discriminatory practices which had created complexes and ill-feelings between nations on our continent. They tackled the source of conflict at its root. Monnet was one of the first to understand and explain that the principle of European unification basically involves the search for a new humanism. On our continent war had followed war, creating a fatal cycle in which the victory of some led to the desire of revenge among others. His ambition was to break this vicious circle and to establish amongst the states the same relations founded on equality and arbitration that governed relations between individuals in democratic societies. In this spirit, Jean Monnet became the advocate of a new morality, relying on people and their capacity to make progress by drawing lessons from the most painful experiences they had been through. As Jean Monnet said, 'we are not uniting states, we are uniting people'."@en1

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