Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-036"

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"Mr President, Commissioner Vitorino, Mr President-in-Office of the Council, we are no doubt all still going around in a state of euphoria following the historic weekend celebration of European unification. It feels like a real privilege to be able to stand here in the House together with fellow MEPs from 24 other countries. The EU will never be the same again. An ordinary day will, however, dawn following this celebration, an ordinary day in the life of the European Union, characterised by negotiations, discussions and compromises. This method is in every respect superior to all others when it comes to making progress in European cooperation, but it also has shortcomings, and it will not always be easy to unite when there are so many different countries, desires, cultures, backgrounds and expectations. People are also making a lot of demands of us and subjecting us to pressure, and there are expectations that the EU will operate properly and deliver. We therefore need a book of rules. We need a Constitution. We have today honoured the memory of Altiero Spinelli who, more than anyone else, fought for a Constitution. There is no better way of honouring his memory than by ensuring that the citizens of Europe are given a European Constitution. The new countries that have now become our colleagues have made huge efforts on their journey here. Unfortunately, the old EU has not to anything like the same extent displayed a willingness to change. We face huge challenges. We have the environmental threats, including the greenhouse effect, as well as the fight against organised crime, including terrorism, and the horrific trafficking in women and children. We must create a continent characterised by growth and economic development. We must create a common European foreign policy, and we must become more active in global work for peace, democracy and free trade. These issues cannot be resolved in an effective and satisfactory way by using the Treaty of Nice. Here in Parliament, we have done our homework. We put our weight behind setting up a Convention. We actively contributed our views. Now it is time for the Council to show that it too has done its homework. We must show the people of 25 countries – 450 million people – that the new EU has risen to its new status. We must show that we are able and willing to change in order to tackle the problems we face and fully realise the potential of our united Europe. I therefore wish to thank the Irish Presidency for the huge amount of work it is doing and wish it every good fortune so that we might all get to see a European Constitution brought about at the forthcoming June summit."@en1

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