Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-026"

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"Mr President, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to begin by joining in the deserved tributes to Jean Monnet and Altiero Spinelli, two visionaries, two anti-fascists and two courageous people. I would also like to point out that Jean Monnet very often quoted the Swiss philosopher Amiel, saying the following: ‘Each man’s experience starts again from the beginning. Only institutions grow wiser: they accumulate collective experience; and, owing to this experience and this wisdom, men subject to the same rules will not see their own nature changing, but their behaviour gradually transformed’. And that is what we are doing here, in Parliament, and what we also want to do with the European Constitution. My esteemed friend, Mr Méndez de Vigo, told us that he carried the ‘Spinelli Treaty’ in his briefcase when he was working in the Convention. I can tell him that, when we were preparing the Maastricht Treaty, I had the opportunity to speak with Paco Ordóñez, who was Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, and he told me that he carried the ‘Spinelli Treaty’ in his briefcase and I carried it as well, and I would recommend to Minister Roche that he carries the ‘Spinelli Treaty’ in his briefcase when he has to find some imaginative solution. I would also like to add that much is said about solidarity, about the step-by-step policy and so on, but we must remember one thing, and that is that the declaration of 9 May 1950 begins by talking about peace – as our friend John Hume has done today. Peace was the issue, not just creating a common market for steel and coal. Having said this, Mr President, on behalf of my group, I would like to express our complete support for the declaration of the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs on the Constitution. I believe that this is the time to support this declaration in circumstances such as that mentioned by the minister. I would reiterate our support for the draft Constitution, in the form it left the Convention. We are aware that there are certain specific points to deal with, not with regard to values – we are very happy with this democratic and secular Europe for everybody – but we do believe there are certain issues still to be dealt with. One of them – and I say this coming from the country which, with an entirely mistaken vision, under the previous government, blocked the constitutional debate – is qualified majority voting within the Council. We have always been clearly in favour of this system. I would like Minister Roche to explain to this House how many times the Ioannina Compromise has been applied in the past, because there may well be proposals which take that route, which would not be the best ones. I would also like to add another important element, which appears in the draft approved in Thessaloniki but which then disappears from sight: there must be a legislative Council, because laws must be created in public and transparently, and there must also be a shared legislative power, not only to create laws, but also to approve budgets. Finally, Mr President – and I address this to the President of Parliament – there is a specific request from the Committee on Constitutional Affairs which is of very great importance, and that is that the President of Parliament, and our representatives in the Intergovernmental Conference, should be able to participate fully in the debates of that conference. And also that during this period, given that the European Parliament remains constituted, that this House can be informed by the most appropriate means. There is nothing to prevent this and it is important from the point of view of the timetable proposed to us by the President-in-Office of the Council. I believe that this is an extremely important element and that in Parliament we are naturally going to be campaigning. And a noble element of this campaign is that we contribute to making progress on the Constitution. A final point which relates to the debate we will hold tomorrow: Mr President-in-office of the Council, we must make progress not just on the composition of the Commission, but also on the simultaneous mandate to that of Parliament. We are now in a very complicated situation. A new President-in-Office of the Council is going to be proposed. There is an excessively long period in a transitional and temporary situation and that is not good either for the Commission or for the European Union."@en1

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