Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-046"

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"Mr President, every country and every international organisation needs a constitution. A constitution defines the structure of the organisation or country and the rights of its citizens. When the European Union was smaller it was able to operate on the basis of successively amended treaties. By contrast, a Union made up of 25 States, and in the future of 27 or more, must have a clear institutional system and a distinct division of powers. It must function efficiently, and, above all, it must be closer to the citizen. For this reason the decision taken at Laeken to convene a European Convention to draft a constitution was right and necessary. I took part in the proceedings of the Convention and can vouch for the high quality of the work it accomplished. I appreciate the excellent quality of the work undertaken by the European Parliament and successive presidencies, and must thank them for it. The draft constitution proposed by the European Council has certainly proved an excellent basis for further discussion. In certain places, however, it gives rise to doubts, emotions and debate. In order to answer the question as to how good the constitution has to be, we must reflect on the kind of constitution Europe wants. First: Europe and its people want a constitution ensuring security and freedom from the use of force and terrorism. This is the type of Europe that is wanted. It is therefore important to consider whether a paragraph regarding the sources of terrorism should be introduced into the constitution. Should the anti-terrorism coordinator not be linked to the Commission and his powers clearly defined? We want a just Europe that cares for the individual. This is why we should develop the third part of the constitution further. As it stands, it pays far too little attention to social policy. We want a well-managed Europe. Consequently, there has to be a balance between the powers of the Member States and those of the Union. An institutional balance is required. This is why the powers of the European Parliament in the area of the Union’s finances and budget must not be restricted. After all, Parliament is the only democratically elected body in the Union. We want a Europe that does not discriminate against anyone, a Europe capable of building an open society. How then could it have been possible not to provide for a ban on discrimination on the grounds of disability, when drafting the anti-discrimination clause? It should be recalled that there the European Union has 50 million citizens with disabilities. Above all, however, we are aiming at a democratic and united Union, a Union in which all states and citizens are equal. Consequently, the decision-making process in the Council of the European Union should be based on a spirit of compromise that takes into account the interests of all States, large and small. An accommodation is called for. All the Union’s power must not be vested in just a small number of its Member States. The willingness to accept this compromise will be a measure and determinant of European democracy. The constitution is almost ready and will have to serve future generations. Taking into account also that the people have endorsed it by means of a referendum or in parliament, it will be only right that, in the spirit of compromise, we adopt it quickly. This will make for deeper integration."@en1

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