Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-006"
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". Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, ladies and gentlemen, the European Parliament has had the excellent idea of paying tribute to the memory of Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli during the final part-session of its fifth legislature as an assembly elected by universal suffrage. The Spinelli draft was innovative in several respects, eight years before the Treaty of Maastricht advocated the creation of a genuine European Union, based on the European Community. Various fundamental provisions of the Treaty of Maastricht stem directly from the Spinelli draft, such as those relating to citizenship of the Union, respect for fundamental rights or the introduction of the principle of subsidiarity when allocating and exercising the Union’s competences. The Treaty of Amsterdam took up the idea of providing for the possibility of imposing sanctions on a State in the event of serious or persistent violation of the democratic principles or fundamental rights upon which we are founded. There are other provisions which anticipated, 20 years earlier, the draft Constitutional Treaty produced by the Convention. I would like in particular to mention the explicit expression of the primacy of Union law, the introduction of the concept of a Union law, restricted to the fundamental principles of Union action, the duty of the Commission to initiate the programming of the Union's activities and Parliament's final say in the budgetary field. Finally, we may have to wait for a new phase of European integration to begin in order to introduce certain supplementary provisions. I would point out, in particular, Article 82 of the Spinelli draft which laid down that when the Treaty had been ratified by a majority of States representing two thirds of the total population of the Union, the governments of the States which had ratified it would meet immediately to reach a common agreement on the procedures and the date of entry into force of the new Treaty, as well as relations with the States which had not yet ratified it. Something which in a Union of 25 States or more will inevitably have to be considered. Whatever form it might take, the Spinelli draft proposed the idea of founding the Union upon a fundamental Treaty which would be a genuine Constitution for Europe and would hence become the single, general plan which Jean Monnet considered to be the inevitable consequence of concrete achievements. These two men, who were so different in terms of culture and temperament, worked together throughout the 1950s. In this way, the visionary Spinelli proposed concrete solutions to the pragmatic Monnet, who in turn enshrined his vision of Europe in his proposals to the different governments. This combination of pragmatism and idealism is what we need most in the current European situation. The challenges are different, but the method is still valid. We need will and determination, generosity and ambition, in order to create a Europe of peace and prosperity, of values and civilisation, which works for solidarity in the world: our Europe. Although they are not the only founding fathers of Europe, Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli, perhaps more than any other, represent the incredible development of Europe since the Second World War as a result of their vision and their tangible actions. Jean Monnet taught us what we had to do, and thus in the declaration of 9 May 1950 he wrote, ‘Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single, general plan. It will be built through concrete achievements, which first create a de facto solidarity’. This simple sentence indicated the direction we had to take and which we have been following since the 1950s: concrete achievements in order to create de facto solidarity. The famous step-by-step policy. I am convinced that the enlargement of the Union of 1 May, which will not be the last, is an eloquent example of this principle. But this simple statement at the same time points to the ultimate destination of this road: Europe, the single, general plan. Today, de facto solidarity exists and Europe is preparing to adopt its Constitutional Treaty. Jean Monnet established the foundations for the current European Union and proposed the method for achieving it. Through his own concrete achievements, in particular as the first President of the High Authority of the ECSC and, above all, as the constant and determined inspiration for the subsequent development of European integration. The Action Committee for a United States of Europe, which he promoted over the course of 20 years, inspired many fertile ideas which have subsequently been put into practice. I would like today to remind you all of his actions to promote direct elections to the European Parliament, which allowed us to be where we are today, with a Parliament that has real legislative and control powers. Jean Monnet died 25 years ago, just before the first elections which brought Altiero Spinelli to the European Parliament. Like Monnet, Spinelli offered Europe his vision and his achievements. I would point out that he was a European Commissioner before becoming an MEP. Today we are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the European Parliament’s adoption of the draft Treaty establishing the European Union, usually called, quite rightly, the ‘Spinelli draft’, since Spinelli was not just its rapporteur, but also the inspiration behind it. With hindsight, we can say without hesitation that without this draft we would not have the draft European Constitutional Treaty today. Hence, with the draft of 1984 the process began within the Union which led to the successive revisions of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty, the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice, and, subsequently, to the constitutional discussions which took place within the framework of the European Convention."@en1
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