Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-008"

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"Mr President, my group believes the initiative to commemorate Monnet and Spinelli today to be a good one. Because without Monnet, the great inspiration in the shadows, the declaration of 9 May 1950, which is the founding act of European construction, could not be understood, and without the declaration there would not have been Franco-German reconciliation and it would not have been possible to reconcile the Europeans. And without his decisive advocacy of de facto solidarity it would not have been possible to make progress towards a common market, the forerunner to political union. And without his institutional vision, and in particular the key role for the European Commission, we would not have been able to overcome the straitjacket of cooperation between governments. I therefore believe that today we must enjoy this wonderful moment, savour it, take pleasure in it. We have created the Greater Europe, and on this marvellous morning, as I walked towards this Strasbourg palace, I remembered that episode of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Valmy, when he suddenly stood up in front of a group of people and, possessed by an extraordinary strength, said: ‘we are witnessing an historic moment, life will never be the same and you will be able to say: we were there’. Also 20 years ago – and this has been pointed out here – this House, which had been democratically elected for the first time, approved the Treaty which we know as the ‘Spinelli Treaty’, whose rapporteur was Spinelli himself. The ‘Spinelli Treaty’ has been an essential reference for all successive modifications: the Single Act, the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice and, of course, the Treaty drawn up by the Convention. When I had the honour of chairing the European Parliament's delegation to that Convention, I always had the Spinelli draft beside me. And I would think to myself, ‘what would Spinelli say about this?’ and I must acknowledge that, although it was produced 20 years ago, the ‘Spinelli Treaty’ was incredibly relevant to today and many of the proposals he made are now in the Constitutional Treaty. There is something which unites Monnet and Spinelli, Mr President: both wanted to unite people. ‘Let us unite men’, said Monnet. And the whole of the ‘Spinelli Treaty’ is full of references to citizens, to people. I believe – and my friend Dick Roche said this earlier – that they would both feel proud of what we have done over these years, because I believe that the draft Constitutional Treaty is a treaty for people. And this starts with the first article, which speaks of a Union of States and citizens, and also where it grants the European Parliament full legislative powers and powers of political control, or where it introduces national parliaments, by means of the early warning system. There is also the popular initiative and the recognition of the role of the regions and municipalities and of NGOs, all of which is in favour of people. In our work over 50 years, we have done what both Monnet and Spinelli called for: to unite people. And allow me to tell you a little secret: as a child, as I was, between Monnet and Spinelli, when I left my country, which in the words of Gil de Biedma was ‘an old inefficient country’, I was faced with a Europe full of walls, the Berlin Wall, the wall of the Pyrenees, the wall of dictatorships, the wall of egotisms and the wall of nationalisms. Today’s Europe, the Europe which my daughter sees, is a Europe without walls, and those which still remain will fall. At this moment when a wonderful enlargement has taken place, with which we have sewn together two Europes, with which we have realised that project expounded in the declaration of 9 May, I would like to say to the new countries which make up the European Union that they should enjoy their incorporation into the Union just as we Spaniards enjoyed ours, with the prospect of freedoms, prosperity and above all of sharing a common project. Mr President, we politicians often talk about the future and I believe there will be time to fight the battles and overcome the obstacles we face, but I believe that today we have meditated on the past, on Monnet and Spinelli, and I would ask that we take pleasure in the present. Because today's present is a wonderful one. Monnet and Spinelli would certainly be described as utopian, but Lamartine was right when he said that utopia is nothing more than a truth whose time has not yet come. And today the ups and downs of life often make reality much nicer than literature."@en1

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