Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-049"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, while we are on the subject of freedom of speech, let me say just one thing, which is that this has been an open process, one in which every detail of the Convention was public, for everyone to read, examine, discuss and add their own contributions. The process involved everyone who was entitled to participate, ranging from the national parliaments to the Council, Parliament and the Commission. That is something that Mr Martin should not denigrate, even if it does not fit into his present programme and that of the ! I would like, with your permission, to make a few comments. The first is that we have completed the project of the century, the reunification of the whole of Europe. Over the past few days, we have heard a lot of fine speeches about that. I hope that these will prove to be more than lofty sentiments, and that we will instead put them into practice. What that means is that we have to enable the enlarged Europe to function and confer legitimacy upon it, and that is why the Constitution is so important. If you are in favour of reunification, then you have to be in favour of this Constitution, for it is democratic and is founded upon values to be found in the preamble and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights – values that I regard as being, to a large extent, of Christian origin. The European Union has to be able to function. A larger Union is of no use if its decision-making structures do not make it effective. Having listened to all the lofty sentiments that have been expressed, we have to acknowledge that no longer can any of us, in the present world, defend our interests on our own – that, after all, is why Europe is united. No longer can anyone defend interests that are exclusively national. The fact is that it is better that we should put our national interests on the back burner when we have a common denominator, for it is this common denominator that will enable us to develop the strength to defend our national interests as well. Now it is only through Europe that national interests can be defended, and if this is made apparent in practical action and in the way this constitution develops, then we really will make progress. I would just like to express my gratitude to the Irish Presidency of the Council for its astute leadership, even though we will have to discuss those details in the final document where we in this House cannot agree to what is proposed. I do hope, though, that we will nevertheless be able to achieve a good result."@en1

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