Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-037"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I listened with interest to what Mr Roche told us earlier, namely that the Irish Presidency of the Council is drawing, in its proposals, on those made by its Italian predecessor. Basically, Mr Roche, the only thing is that the public has no idea whatever about what negotiations are currently going on and what the present position is with regard to the draft Constitution. At the same time, the text produced by the Convention is still under massive attack, even though it is due to be adopted at the end of the Irish Presidency, which is only a matter of a few weeks away. I therefore, as a former member of the Convention, have this appeal to make to the Council and to the Irish who preside over it. For a start, no concession must be made, under any circumstances whatever, to the renewed pressure from the European Central Bank for the objective in Part I to be revised. The Convention has stated that the ECB should, in future, promote a balance between sustainable growth, employment and price stability, and that should be the end of the matter. Secondly, Part III of the draft Constitution must – as this House has emphatically demanded – be adapted, in a politically and legally binding way, to the fundamental provisions of Part I, in order to secure the social dimension of the European Union. To put it another way, the expression ‘open market economy’ must be replaced by ‘social market economy’ if we are to avoid opening the door wide to unbridled capitalism. Thirdly, let me contradict Mr Poettering by saying that the preamble to the Constitution is no place for mention of God. The people who live in the EU must not be divided into believers and unbelievers. Reference to God is not, moreover, a suitable bargaining counter for getting the Poles, for example, to agree to dual majority in the Council of Ministers, nor must it be used in an attempt to nullify the idea of Turkey’s accession to the EU. We do indeed need a referendum on the Constitution, and, in the Convention, I have already argued the case for one. It is the EU’s citizens who must have the last word, for it is their future that is at stake. I urge that there should be an EU-wide referendum on the Constitution on the same day in all the Member States; the date I would suggest is 8 May 2005. Being the 60th anniversary of liberation from Fascism and the eve of the Day of Europe, it would be a suitable day on which to vote."@en1

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